It's starting to get cooler and football season has begun. Just like simple math everyone knows those two things add up to equal CHILI. I made my first batch last weekend and promised a friend I would share my recipe. Being a man of my word, here it is.
Of course, there is no end to the ways to make chili. Some people have a no beans policy. Some use a ketchup base. Some insist on adding spaghetti. The good thing is there is no wrong way to make chili, only better ways. So, let define MY chili so that we are on the same page from the outset:
- MY Chili must have beans and ground beef.
- MY Chili must have some peppers in it.
- MY Chili must be thick and hearty, not watery like soup.
- MY Chili must have some kick. It doesn't have to be able to peel paint, but it should certainly let my tongue know it is there.
With that established, let's make with the cookin'!
- 2 packages of McCormick Chili mix (I prefer hot, but mild is available)
- 1 lb ground Chuck (80/20)
- 1 32oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 can dark kidney beans
- 1 can light kidney beans
- 1 can chili beans (I like Bush's in hot sauce)
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- mix of spicy peppers depending on your own preference
- kosher salt
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- red cayenne pepper
This chili could not be simpler. Start by browning the ground beef over a medium heat. I like a good angus chuck (80/20). You want some fat to bring out the flavor. While the beef is browning, let's get the base simmering.
Into a large pot (I use a 6 quart stock pot) over a low-medium heat pour a 32oz can of plain tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce). Fill the can just under half-full with water and add it. This sauce will thicken quite a bit as it cooks. This is good as it will help concentrate the flavors. If the chili is too thick for your liking, you can always add a little water AFTER it is finished to thin it out.
Now I add the 3 cans of beans, including the liquid.
Now come the spices. Honestly, I eyeball it, but you want at least a tablespoon of the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Also add both packets of McCormick's chili mix. Don't forget a hefty pinch of kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Give it a good stir and get it will mixed.
Now for the veggies. Wash and finely chop all the peppers and onion and add them to the pot. If you opted to include spicier peppers or chilis, take the necessary precautions! If you end up in the hospital because you rubbed your eye with habanero juice on your fingers you will miss out on the chili! I typically use a couple of habeneros, a couple of jalepenos, a couple of serranos, a couple of anaheims and a couple of poblanos. They not only provide a nice flavor and kick but all the green makes for a better looking bowl! If you are one of those people that likes tomatoes in their chili, now would be the time to add your tomato chunks.
Once you beef is cooked through add it into the pot as well.
Now comes the hardest part. For the next 3 hours, let it simmer but not boil with the lid mostly covering the pot, and stir it every few minutes to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pot. I leave the lid off enough to let some steam escape, thus reducing the water and concentrating the flavors. When that 3 hour bell dings, your chili is ready.
Like I said, if it is too thick for your liking, you can through a cup of water into the microwave for a couple of minutes and then pour it in slowly, while stirring, to loosen it up. Don't pour a cup of cold water in! It won't mix right and will bring down the temperature of your fresh chili.
I always serve my chili with oyster crackers and a shredded "mexican" cheese blend on top. They act as a cooling agent so you get the heat, but you won't die from it.
Now that my secret is out, if you try it, let me know what you think!