Chili recipe

Monday, June 23, 2014

I was craving hearty, meaty chili so much one day recently, kind of out of nowhere (but isn't that how cravings are?) so I went online and started comparing recipes to figure out exactly what ingredients I wanted in mine. I like to compare lots of different recipes to see the similarities and differences in ingredients and technique, and then I can save myself time and money by ruling out ones that don't sound that appealing based on what I like to eat. That way I don't have to make and have to eat three different recipes to know what I like best, and I can experiment right away. It's also very helpful to read reviews to see what people change and what they like about the recipe. What I came up with is based loosely on this and this and some other recipes too. I knew I wanted a ground beef base (versus various cuts of beef), lots of beans, but I also didn't want chili with only meat, bacon, sausage in it--I need to have plenty of vegetables in there to balance things out. I think this chili is the perfect balance:

about 2 tablespoons olive oil (I eyeball it)
2 pounds organic ground beef
one red onion
4 cloves garlic
one red bell pepper
one yellow or orange bell pepper
one jalapeno
one 28-ounce can tomatoes, whole or crushed
one 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 15-ounce cans black beans
one 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
one 12 ounce bottle of beer (preferably amber)
1/4 cup masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
shredded cheddar, for serving
green onions, for serving
sour cream, for serving
lime wedges, for serving

Add olive oil to a large pot or lidded frying pan and start cooking beef on high heat. Chop onion and add, then mince garlic and add. Chop beef up as you fry, turning and chopping with a wooden spatula until there are no large chunks left. Dice red and yellow peppers and jalapeno and add to pan, making sure to keep stirring the meat every once in a while. When meat has browned, pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne pepper. Wash your beans, and add them to the pan, along with the bottle of beer. Turn heat down to low, cover chili with lid, and let it simmer for another hour. (If you like to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking, total cooking time is about an hour and a half.)

Right before turning the chili off, mix the masa harina with about 1/2 cup water and whisk together, then add to chili to thicken it to your desired consistency. You can always do a taste test at the end and add more salt or chili powder if desired. If the chili turns out too thick (keep in mind it will thicken as it cools), you can always add some boiled water to loosen it up. Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, sour cream, and lime wedges. I personally love baking up some fresh cornbread to go with it--it just takes the meal above and beyond!

If you like spice, you can leave the jalapeno seeds in, but I always take mine out so I get the jalapeno flavor without too much spice. Also, make sure you use regular chili powder, which has other spices like oregano mixed in. I used chipotle chili powder the first time I made this, and although I reduced the amount I used because I knew that stuff is insanely spicy, the kids still wouldn't eat my chili. Lesson learned--not the same.

The most important thing I can tell you, however, is to buy quality meat. I buy organic ground beef at Costco because we all know Costco has the best prices on organic products hands down, and it's the most delicious ground beef I have ever tried. It really does make a difference. Organic meat has so much more flavor than regular because the animals aren't on steroids to develop bigger muscles and therefore more meat. It tastes better but it's also so much healthier for you. You're eating meat, not toxins like antibiotics and steroids, and who knows what else. And did you know organic meat is actually more filling than regular? It's what God intended for us to be eating, instead of tampering with things and calling it food. I urge you to try it!



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