Cook Your Comics Redux: Post-Crisis Chili a la Green Arrow

Green Arrow Brightest Day #9 cover 2, Shane Davis (artist), DC Comics 2010

Are you getting a sense of deja vu, like you’ve already read this recipe? You’re right to feel that way. Happy Groundhog Day!

I first published a version of this recipe in October, but in the months since, I made it a few more times and have arrived at an improved version. I officially declare that there has been a Crisis in this recipe column (one of the Flashes probably died, I’m still sorting it out), and therefore present…

Post-Crisis Chili a la Green Arrow


  • 2 pounds extra lean ground beef
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 8-oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika (this is your secret weapon – it gives the chili a distinctive, smoky flavor)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 30-oz. can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 30-oz. can black beans, drained

Optional Toppings:

  • Fritos corn chips
  • chopped onions
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sliced jalapenos (fresh or pickled, whatever you like)

Note: This recipe scales up well. As written, it makes about 3 quarts, but I made a quadruple recipe and it worked with minimal adjustment of the spices.


In a dutch oven, brown the ground beef and onions together. If your beef is extra lean, there will be just enough grease to cook the onions, and the onions will give up enough juice to flavor the meat nicely.

While the meat and onions are browning, measure out your spices into a bowl. If you want milder chili, you don’t have to include the red pepper at all. And if you want it really hot, you can add more red pepper. Oliver Queen likes to make a five-alarm chili which would have about five teaspoons of red pepper when making this quantity. You can also make a big batch of the spice mix ahead of time and keep it in an airtight container for a few months if you’re making chili regularly. This is when buying your spices from the bulk bins can really come in handy, and it’s much cheaper (in my experience, 75-90% cheaper) and less wasteful than buying a new container every time.

When the meat is browned, the onions are soft and translucent, and there is still a fair amount of juice in the pot, add the crushed garlic. Make sure it doesn’t burn, as burned garlic has a nasty, bitter flavor. Drain any extra grease once the meat, onions and garlic are cooked through.

Add the tomato paste and stir into the meat/onion/garlic mixture.

Add the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. So far, we’ve made an excellent base for a spaghetti sauce! The spice mixture is what’s going to make it chili.

Add the spices and mix thoroughly. The chili powder will make the sauce noticeably darker. Drain the cans of kidney beans and black beans and gently mix them into the chili. Let the whole thing simmer so the spices can permeate everything.


Cook Your Comics - chili with spices

Pick a good chili powder. They’re not all the same!

Simmer gently until the chili thickens and reaches the consistency you prefer. You can simmer it on the stovetop, or put in a slow cooker and cook on low for however long you want. And then the chili is done!

This recipe is great by itself, but if you want to add toppings like cheese, onions, or jalapenos, DO IT! The texture and flavor go really well with corn chips to make Frito pie.

Cook Your Comics - finished chili with beans
After slow cooking overnight, the chili got a little darker and the meat became very tender.
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Annie Bulloch

Annie Bulloch

Annie Bulloch writes about comics and pop culture from the perspective of a retailer and longtime fan. She co-owns 8th Dimension Comics & Games in Houston, Texas, where she is Director of Marketing and frequently hosts store events, including a regular Ladies' Night. She loves comics, cooking, and pop culture. Find her on Twitter and Tumblr: @texasannie