Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I was younger, I didn't like chili.  I liked the ingredients that went into chili, but put 'em together, I wasn't a fan.  I don't remember the first time I tried it again as an adult, all I know is that I like it now.  Usually when I make chili I just throw things together, which means no two batches will taste the same.  I've had good luck in that none have been bad, but sometimes you want to get back to a standard version.  The last time I made chili, I actually wrote down ingredients and measured things out.  As it turned out, this was our favorite one yet! 

I love to add corn and black beans to chili.  Kevin and I really enjoy the slightly sweet pop that corn brings to the dish.  I don't know if celery and carrots are traditional ingredients in chili, but I've started adding mirepoix (2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrots) to just about any soup, stew, black beans (for beans and rice), etc. because the combo adds a nice flavor.  Plus, it's hard to resist the smell of mirepoix cooking on the stove, it's so intoxicating.

Original Recipe
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken or sausage)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt & Pepper
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
1 can/bottle of beer OR 1 14.5 oz can low sodium beef or chicken broth
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped*
1 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes w/ chilies, drained
4 oz can of chilies (optional if you want more heat)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15.25 oz no salt added corn, drained OR 1.5 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 red pepper, chopped

In a stock pot or dutch oven, cook and drain the ground meat, set meat aside.  In the same pot, heat the olive oil, then add the onion, carrots, celery.  Once they soften a bit, add the garlic until it becomes fragrant, then clear a space and add the tomato paste.  Let the tomato paste cook a bit until it darkens in color (at least one minute to bring out the flavor).  Stir in the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and cilantro.  Add the beer or broth, the chopped, whole tomatoes with juice, the Rotel, (chilies if using) and the cooked meat into the pot.  Mix everything together and gently simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until the liquid has reduced.  The simmering time will vary depending on the consistency you like.  Stir in the beans, corn and red pepper and cook for 10 minutes to warm everything through.  Taste and season accordingly.

*Chopping whole canned tomatoes:  With your kitchen shears, cut the whole tomatoes while they are still in the can.  It's a whole lot faster and cleaner than taking them out and chopping them on a cutting board.  An alternative is to pour the contents of the can into the chili pot and smash the tomatoes apart with a potato masher, but beware of the squirting tomatoes.  Or you could always crush them with your hands.

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