Friday, February 22, 2008

Chillin' with Chili

I love a good pot of chili in the winter. It’s a meal in a bowl—protein, fiber, and vegetables. And it’s a meal that everybody in the family likes—that in and of itself is a miracle. Oh, and it's healthy too. But I don’t make the authentic chili with dried ancho chilies and chuck roast because it just takes too darn long. Nope, I like the kind of chili that takes around 30 minutes to make. To me the perfect bowl of quick chili has to have three components—lots of veggies with a tomato base, beans, a good spicy (not necessarily hot) flavor. So after several attempts I think I finally created my perfect chili recipe. Let me know if you try it and like it. This makes a big pot! The pot is this picture is 7 quarts. It’s enough for my family of five to have dinner twice! I love leftovers for lunch during the week.

2-4 T. olive oil
2 chopped onions
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pound ground beef*
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 large can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
2 cans tomato sauce (8oz)
1 tomato sauce can of water
2 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
2-3 chopped red and/or yellow bell peppers
½ a bunch of chopped cilantro

Toppings: pepper jack cheese, sour cream, lime wedges
Good homemade cornbread. (I like Mark Bittman’s from How to Cook Everything)

In a large soup pot or dutch oven heat olive oil. Saute the onions and spices for 2-3 minutes. Spices need to cook in oil to ‘bloom’ them. Don’t skip this step! Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. After the ground beef has browned for 4-5 minutes, add the garlic. Stir until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the onion and bell peppers are soft. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve with toppings of your choice and lots of good cornbread.

*To make a chicken chili add 2 cups diced cooked chicken. I like to just shred a rotisserie chicken from Costco.


Ilene said...

That chili would look delightful in my new pot. I'm so all over trying this recipe. I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for perfecting a recipe so lazy cooks like me can just copy what you come up with.

Oh, the enchiladas were perfect. Exactly what my prego appetite was craving. Thanks!

patty said...

Yummm, Cyn. I am definitely going to try this recipe. The great thing is I think I have all the ingredients in my pantry. Yay!

Ilene said...

Oh, one more. I made that chocolate cake recipe from your old blog. SO-oo fabulous. I used a different frosting recipe (Ina's sheet cake frosting- basically a ganache). I was in heaven. I have been completely converted to America's Test Kitchen recipes.

Michael Harrington said...

As the husband of a Mexican chef (chef-ess?) and a chili gourmet, may I suggest a link of chorizo added to the ground beef to really spice it up? Try'll like it!

Patty said...

Oooooh, dad. That's a great idea! I never thought of chorizo. Yum!

I made this chili tonight, Cyn. I didn't have bell peppers, and added a can chopped, fire-roasted tomatoes in place of the regular diced tomatoes. I also added a few drops of Tapatio and a few drops of worcestershire. The chili was heaven! We are going to have gringo tacos tomorrow night with the leftovers. (O:

Patty said...

Oh, and I forgot to add that letting the spices "blossom" in the oil makes all the difference in the world as the recipe states. I used a lot less oil than called for (1 tbsp) because I am forever on a diet and wanted to keep it low-fat. I did have to add some water in place of the missing oil but it worked out well that way, too.

After all that, instead of simmering for 20-30 minutes, I poured it all in the crock pot and let it simmer on low for hours to give the spices a chance to fully develop.

A few hours later, Trevor and I went on a nice walk on the trail by our home to take advantage of the warm 43 degree weather, and it was divine to come home from our walk to a nice, hot, crock pot full of homemade chili. Yummmmm!

Ilene said...

Made the chili, it was delicious. It reminded me a lot of Ina's chicken chili recipe so of course I loved it.


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