Chili is one of those types of recipes that everybody has their own version of, and pretty much all versions are good. It’s pretty hard to mess it up (probably the worst two things that can happen are it’s under seasoned or not cooked long enough). Some chili aficionados will tell you that true chili doesn’t have beans. While it is true that the first chilis were made only with meat, chili with beans has such a long history (over 100 years) it can’t really be called unauthentic. I make chili with beans often (as shown here), but I sometimes make it with just meat (Which I call chili con carne).
Because chili is so versatile a dish I don’t always make it the same way. Sometimes I use beef, sometimes turkey. If I don’t have a certain pepper I leave it out. For me the key essentials are: some type of meat, chili powder, beans, cumin, a source of heat, onions, and tomato. Everything else just makes it better.
1) 1 lb of ground beef (I like 90% lean)
2) ½ of a green bell pepper, chopped
3) ½ of a red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4) One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
5) One 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
6) 1 small onion, chopped
7) 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
8) 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
9) One 15 oz can black beans
10) One 15 oz can kidney beans (dark or light)
11) 3 tablespoons chili powder (the kind that’s not hot)
12) 1 teaspoon paprika
13) ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
14) 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
15) ½ teaspoon dry oregano
16) Finishers: 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 tsp, brown sugar, a splash of apple cider vinegar
1) Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the beef and brown, stirring and breaking it up. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 1 teaspoon of salt is enough for a pound of meat.
2) Push the meat to one side of the pot and add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne to the hot fat. Stir it for a few seconds then immediately mix it with the meat. Add the oregano, and stir.
3) Drain and rinse the black beans then add them to the pot. Add the kidney beans to the pot straight from the can, juice and all.
4) Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the finishers, followed by a cup and a half of water. Stir.
5) Put a lid on the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6) After 30 minutes remove the lid and simmer 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
7) With 5 minutes left (5 minutes before the last 30 minutes is up) stir in the cocoa powder and continue simmering.
8) Cut off the heat. Stir in the brown sugar and the splash of vinegar (I never measure it but I guess it is about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons. The finishers are optional, but they add that little something that makes you go “Hmm, what is that?”
I usually serve this chili with cornbread. Enjoy.