Ok, so I know that it is officially summer and most people look at chili as a hearty, winter food, but I made it the other day to go with our sweet potato fries. I didn’t mind that it was 85 degrees Farenheit because the chili was a great compliment to the sweet potato fries and made for a filling dinner. I actually made the chili first and let it simmer while I put the fries together. The two dishes went well together and I routinely make this chili for lunches and dinners throughout the year. That’s what makes it my go-to every-season chili recipe.
There are many styles of chili and I am fully aware that I’m entering territory were regional tastes differ. I didn’t grow up eating chili (my mom doesn’t like beans) so I don’t find myself loyal to any style in particular – I usually like them all. I do prefer a mix of beans in my chili, usually kidney, black, and pinto, but I was out of pinto so I used two cans of kidney beans in the recipe below. Light or dark red kidney beans will work, my personal preference is for the lighter variety because I think the outer skin is softer. This recipe is made with ground beef because it is easier and faster than the slow cooking it with beef chunks. I also like that the ground beef is evenly distributed throughout the chili. This recipe also works wonderfully as a leftover meal with some rotini (Omar’s idea).
I’ve served this chili with the traditional cheddar cheese, onions, and sour cream as toppings. My suggestion? Skip the traditional and try it with the sweet potato fries. No matter how you enjoy it, it is healthier than eating out. We enjoyed this meal with a cold brewsky and happily enjoyed eating in instead.
GO-TO EVERY-SEASON CHILI
1 tablespoon olive oil (only if you are using extra lean beef, otherwise, enough fat will render from the beef that you don’t need oil at all.
1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used 96/4)
1 medium onion, chopped, dived (reserve a few tablespoons for topping later)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers, minced (for more heat, keep the seeds, for less, discard the seeds
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 can kidney, 1 can pinto beans)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Knorr granulated chicken boullion (I know this is unexpected but I always use it)
1 bottle dark lager (I used a bottle of Yuengling)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
freshly ground pepper
In a large heavy bottom pan or dutch oven over medium high heat, add the oil and ground beef and begin to brown the beef. Stir consistently with a wooden spoon to ensure the beef breaks up and no large chunks form.
After 3-4 minutes, add the onions and garlic (it’s ok if all of the beef isn’t totally browned when you add the onions and garlic). Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes, then add the peppers, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Once the peppers start to soften, add all of the beans and all of the spices, including the Knorr. Mix and combine all the ingredients thoroughly and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the bottle of beer, do this carefully so the beer does not get too foamy. Mix everything well until the beer comes to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium and allow everything to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, mix them in well, and turn the heat back up to medium high and bring the chili to a low boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low and allow the chili to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes, or longer, until the chili is nice and thick.
Salt and pepper to taste, top with reserved onions, and enjoy!