This week, I am handing the keyboard over to my beloved roommate, fellow foodie, and amateur chef…my boyfriend. That’s right, this week’s post is brought to you by my better half, Tom, so you’ll be getting the “guy’s” point of view in the kitchen. Enjoy!
I have always been a chili enthusiast. It is the perfect food for every day from the blustery weekday lunch at work to the “hungover til 6 pm” Sunday. Few foods are more satisfying to me than a bowl of spicy chili with a big hunk of a baguette.
Chili is a food that rewards creativity. Of all of the things I love about making a big crock of stewing meat and veggies, the opportunity to improvise throughout the process is probably my favorite. When I cook I may or may not follow the directions; I often prefer to follow the framework but sort of make it up as I go along (one of many reasons I choose not to bake). It is easy to make chili and even easier to customize it to your liking. I prefer to use a variety of peppers to create a more complex flavor (and to add some color), a small mountain of onions, and just about everything in our spice rack. It is hard to go wrong when cooking chili and there are infinite ways to tailor the ingredients. Options, options, and more options:
- Heat – mild, medium, or hot…you can’t go wrong.
- Meat – ground beef/turkey/pork/chicken, diced up steak, etc. (I suppose vegetarian chili is an option but good luck getting me to eat that)
- Vegetables – beans, peppers, and onions are staples but additions and subtractions are important to make the dish your own
- Spices – the smallest piece with the biggest impact on the flavor…unlimited options
- Texture – chop ‘em big, chop ‘em small…same taste, different eating experience
Full disclosure – my recipe below is loosely based on one I saw on Foodspin, the food page of the sports website Deadspin, which I have tweaked to my own taste over time. (Sidenote: I highly suggest Foodspin to anybody with an actual sense of humor, a fondness for sarcasm, or non-serious articles about food and alcohol.)
- 3 lbs ground meat
- 3 jalapeno peppers
- 8 bell peppers
- 2 sweet onions large
- 2 red onions
- 3 yellow onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- Hot sauce
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Curry powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- 1 can tomato paste 12 oz
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 beer
- 2 cans black beans
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 1 can cannellini beans
- Sour cream for serving
- Cheddar jack cheese shredded (for serving)
Brown the meat over medium heat in a large pot (I used our Le Creuset pot because it’s heavier).
Once the meat is browned, add the diced peppers, garlic, and onions. Allow the vegetables to cook with the meat on medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding anything else. (Option: for a sweeter chili, allow the peppers, onions, and garlic to cook in the pot before adding the meat.)
Add spices, sriracha, and hot sauce. The amount to add is completely up to the cook but I’d suggest starting with small amounts of each since you can always add more (as opposed to adding too much and then being totally screwed).
Now add the tomato paste and stewed tomatoes (I prefer to add it to the side of the pot so that it heats up quickly and gets somewhat sticky…I think it tastes better this way).
Pour in the beer and give a lengthy stir. I use darker beers but a lot of recipes I have seen call for lighter or “cheap” beer. Pretty much any beer will do for this, I just happen to like the darker beer for the recipe.
Reduce the heat, cover, and allow this to simmer for 90 minutes without removing the lid or stirring.
After 90 minutes, taste the chili for flavor. Add more spices, sriracha, etc. if needed.
Stir in all beans (drained). Simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a piece of baguette.
The quantities listed in the ingredients is meant to serve a party of 10 and required two large pots. For casual meals, cut the recipe in half.
Adapted from Foodspin