Well, it’s fall now. Time to get out the stews, braises, hot soups, and a host of other comfort foods. I know it isn’t exactly cold outside yet (particularly in North Carolina), but it’s not too early to be thinking ahead. Besides, I like chili. And I like this one.
It’s a bit different than my last one–all-meat, no-bean–and not at all like the turkey chili. This is more of an everything chili that combines a little but of anything I had available to make a tasty stew. Beans, ground beef, onions, garlic… heck, if I had bacon on hand, I’m sure that would have gone into it. I don’t want to get into the whole beans or no-beans debate. I think you should just be open to trying a few different kinds and making something you like. I don’t even have a stake in this argument–I’ll eat anything as long as it’s tasty. And, like most chilis, this one is.
I actually like to eat my chili off of tortilla chips. I almost insist on having chips. I don’t even know why I started doing it, maybe that crunchy texture has something to do with it, or maybe it’s as simple as the extra bit of salt. The reduced tomatoes or overall thickness of the chili might be what gave me the impression that dipping things into it was a good idea. I’m not the only that does this, right? I don’t think that’s unusual. Does anyone else do it?
I didn’t look very far for this recipe. I know Cook’s Illustrated has a few good recipes, so just slightly modified their bean and beef chili. There are a few changes I did make: I had some chipotle peppers in adobo in the freezer from my quinoa recipe, so I threw some of those in there. It adds a spiciness and a smoky flavor to it. I also often like to use some beer as a cooking liquid in the chili. I like stouts for the rich, roasted flavor they can contribute. Pale ales are good too and provide a milder flavor. Either way, you can often use what you have on hand, and you have an excuse to have one yourself too :) .
Beef and Bean Chili
Makes 8 to 10 servings. My recipe has some differences from Cooks Illustrated (like the chipotle in adobo), but the roots are the same.
2 tbsp veg oil
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce from the can (can reduce if you want less heat)
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 bottle of beer (I like stouts or even pale ales for this, almost anything will be fine.)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional–add only if you want more heat. You can cook everything through and taste near the end. If you want more heat, add cayenne, simmer and stir well for a few minutes and taste again. Be warned that it seems to get hotter as it rests.)
1. In a large pot (or Dutch oven), heat oil until over medium until hot, 2-3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes.
2. Increase heat to medium-high then add the beef. Using a wooden spoon, break up the beef and cook until it looses it’s pink color and just starts browning (3-4 mins).
3. Add beans, tomatoes (and the juice), tomato puree, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, half the beer (drink the rest), 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cover and simmer, stirring every now and then. Cook for 1 hour.
4. Remove cover, cook for an hour more. If chili gets too dry and sticks to the bottom, add 1/2 cup of water as needed (or, my favorite, more beer!)
5. Taste half an hour into step 4. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add cayenne if you feel it needs more heat. Continue cooking until chili darkens and thickens to desired consistency.
If you like more of a thick sauce with your chili, add 2 tablespoons cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix until there are no lumps. Add to the hot chili and stir well, simmer for 5 minutes more.