Soups Tex-Mex

Tex-Mex beef and bean stew, aka Lakemont chili

Tex-Mex beef and bean stew Lakemont chili | Homesick Texan

My family has a dear friend who moved from Houston to Georgia when she and her husband retired. She’s an excellent cook and from time to time, she and I will swap notes about recipes, restaurants, and kitchen equipment.

For instance, a few years ago when I was shopping for slow cookers, I contacted her, as she always has the best tips on cookware and appliances. When I asked her what kind she used, she gave me lots of solid advice, such as don’t get one with paddles as it may stir the food but it will never get warm.

As we discussed the different pros and cons about slow cookers, she mentioned that often she prepares chili in hers and it’s always a hit. Curious about her recipe, I asked if she’d be willing to share it and she graciously agreed. She told me it was called Lakemont chili, named after the place in Georgia where she and her husband now lived.

Tex-Mex beef and bean stew Lakemont chili | Homesick Texan

When I was telling to my mom about how excited I was to get this Lakemont chili recipe, she laughed and said it may have chili in the name, but it wasn’t true Texas chili. I asked her to explain, and she said that there were ingredients such as carrots, celery, bay leaves, tomatoes, and (gasp!) beans in said chili.

Indeed, as everyone knows I’m quite the chili purist so I would never deem any stew with those aromatics and vegetables as chili either. That said, my mom admitted that while not truly Texan, it was no less delicious.

Tex-Mex beef and bean stew Lakemont chili | Homesick Texan

Since I’ve learned the recipe, it’s become a weeknight favorite, one in which I throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker before I go about my day. When I return home, I’m greeted by the inviting aroma of chuck roast that’s been slowly simmered in a savory gravy made from bacon, beer, tomatoes, aromatics, spices, and chiles.

Yes, there are also beans, but if you can keep an open mind, please know that this Lakemont chili is heartwarming, comforting, and very good. So, while not an authentic Texas-style chili, Lakemont chili is still a welcoming Tex-Mex beef and bean stew.

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Tex-Mex beef and bean stew Lakemont chili | Homesick Texan
5 from 3 votes

Tex-Mex beef and bean stew, aka Lakemont chili

Course Main Course
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 6 ounces uncooked bacon
  • 1 pound chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle Mexican lager
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained or 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained or 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. In a large cast-iron skillet, on medium-high heat, cook the bacon until just beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes, turning once. With a slotted spatula, remove the bacon, leaving the grease in the skillet. When cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon and place it in a 6-quart slow cooker.

  2. Meanwhile, add the beef to the skillet and while occasionally stirring, cook on medium-high heat until browned. With a slotted spatula, remove the beef and place into the slow cooker.
  3. Add to the skillet the onion, carrot, and celery, and while occasionally stirring, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  4. Take the vegetables and add them to the slow cooker, then pour the beer into the skillet, swirl around, scraping the bottom of the skillet to get all the browned bits, and the pour it into the slow cooker.
  5. Add to the slow cooker the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cilantro, bay leaf, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours or until everything is well blended, tender, and good.
  6. Alternatively, you can cook it in a covered Dutch oven or pot in the oven at 325°F for 3-4 hours.
  7. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings. Then stir in the lime juice. Serve topped with sour cream.

  1. This looks amazing. I’m going to try for sure. Not sure I can call it chili though since it has celery and carrot

    • Lisa Fain

      Jennifer–Indeed! I’m only calling it chili out of respect for our friend but no matter, it’s still incredibly good!

  2. Although I am not a lager beer drinker and living in the Midwest, what would be a good beer to use for this recipe? This looks mighty tasty!! Thank you!

    • Lisa Fain

      Ruby–You could also use a darker Mexican beer such as Negra Modelo, a pilsner, or even a bock, such as Shiner Bock. Depending where you are, Leinenkugel’s original would be good. I wouldn’t use stouts, wheat beers, fruity beers, or hoppy beers, such as IPAs,

      • Greetings. I made this last night in the slow cooker. This morning, scooped a bowl for lunch at work. Warmed it up and OMG…fantastic!!! I used Negra Modelo and omitted the cilantro–this was fabulous!!! My compliments to the creator of this fine recipe!! Can’t wait to get home to eat dinner. Thank you!

      • I agree with your beer choices. I always add beer, often Shiner Bock, to my Texas red, and while though I’m kind of a chili purist, this looks like a wonderful Texas style stew–a forever hit with my family who doesn’t care if the beans are in the chili or piled on top.

        • Lisa Fain

          Janet–Yes, I agree it’s not true Texas chili but it’s an excellent stew.

    • Thank you for your response! Love your posts!

  3. Celeste

    I’m thinking of making this for Super Bowl. Tomatoes and carrots go together; I was struck by this the first time I had Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese sauce. I love cooking meats in beer, and I second your suggestion up ahead of Shiner Bock. It’s my favorite for beef stew and pulled pork in the slow cooker.

    • Lisa Fain

      Celeste–Carrots and tomatoes are good friends! And yes, this would be perfect for Super Bowl! Shiner Bock is always an excellent choice.

  4. low and slow

    If one would overnight soak the beans (RANCHO GORDO) brand, do you think they would cook OK and become tender?

    • Lisa Fain

      low and slow–Yes, I’d cook for 8 hours because there’s lots of acid in the tomatoes that could prevent the beans from softening properly. Though Rancho Gordo beans are fresh and high quality, so that would be a preferable brand.

  5. Blandy

    Just made this and it is absolutely delicious!!

    • Lisa Fain

      Blandy–This makes my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’ll let my friend in Georgia know, too!

      • Blandy

        Just made it again and tried it with ground beef instead since I got a beef stew comparison. I know that ground beef is frowned upon by some but wow, I really like this version. I’m hooked and will forever make this recipe, alternating between chuck and ground beef. Thank you to your friend in Georgia!

        • Lisa Fain

          Blandy–Glad it works just as well with ground beef! And I’ll let her know that her recipe has a fan!

  6. So I had some friends over for dinner and this was my showstopper dish.
    They absolutely loved it! I told them about your blog and how brilliant your recipes are.
    I was a little skeptical about the beans though, I thought they won’t get tender. But I soaked them for some hours before cooking them in the slow cooker and it turned out amazing!
    Thanks for the lovely recipe Lisa
    Much love
    Happy new year 😀

    • Lisa Fain

      Corrie–Thank you for telling your friends about the blog and I’m delighted that y’all loved the chili! Happy New year!

  7. In lieu of beans in any chili recipe, we use hominy in most chili recipes including green chili and Texas Red. I first ran into this in Del Rio about 30 years ago. The corn flavor is additive.

    • Lisa Fain

      Ron–What an excellent idea! I love hominy and the combination of it with chili sounds perfect!

    • Hominy in chili sounds amazing!

  8. Letitia Doucet

    Oh em gee!!! I’m a native Texan (transplanted to Louisiana! ?) with DEEP Texas roots, and while this may not be truly Texan, it is amazing!!! Loved this, even my son who is not a chili fan said wow that smells good!! I will most definitely make this again, trying in the Insatpot next time. Thanks!!

  9. George Cole

    I made a couple of adjustments. Used Rotel fire roasted diced tomatoes for extra kick, and put a couple of tablespoons (took out a cup of liquid to make a slurry) of masa harina in to thicken before serving.

    • Lisa Fain

      George–Those sound like excellent adjustments! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to trying those myself.

  10. Sofia Cameron

    Hey Lisa thanks so much. What I enjoyed most was the instructions. My younger sister loves Texan chili and I’m even planning on inviting her to my home this weekend to prepare it for us. I’ll also definitely show this article to her. It’ll be a weekend of learning for me LOL!

  11. Margie Oliver

    So delicious! I will be making this often!

  12. Trixie comments

    5 stars
    I keep forgetting to let you know that this has been a hit each time I’ve made (and shared) it. My planning isn’t always the best, so I’m usually using the oven directions – and it’s a “never fail” recipe. Thanks for another winner!

    • Lisa Fain

      Trixie–This makes my day! I’ll let our family friend know that it’s been a longtime hit! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it.

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