#10 chili

When I see chili on a menu in any restaurant, I’m always so curious to see what that particular place has to offer.  Chili is one of those recipes that has so many variations, with different ingredients, different amounts of spiciness, and depending on the part of the world, different ingredients.  A great & versatile one-pot meal, I love preparing an industrial-size amount and enjoying all the different ways to eat it.

I love the traditional chili bowl, sprinkled with lots of cheese.  Comfort food to the max!  We also enjoy chili burritos and chili nachos; but my husband’s ultimate favorite is chili fries.  Oven-baked potato wedges work so great for this, just add cheese & sour cream, and voilà!  A great, warm meal that anyone can enjoy.

For the Chili

  • 2 pounds (900g) of ground meat (half beef, half pork is highly recommended!)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60g) of tomato paste
  • 2 cans (800g) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 can (400g) of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of warm water

Start off by sautéing the onions with a small amount of butter until gold & aromatic.  Add the ground meat and brown over medium heat.  Add garlic and continue browning.  Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, ground oregano, ground cumin, ground paprika, Worcestershire sauce, & the bit of sugar (optional, but recommended to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes).  Make sure the meat is entirely coated and seasoned.  Before the paste starts to stick, add the crushed tomatoes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.  I usually stir every once in a while, just so the meat evens out some more.

In a small bowl, mix the flour with the warm water, and then add it to the chili.  This thickening agent is the simplest in my opinion.  You can always use cornmeal or cornstarch, but I have no problem using regular flour.  Add the beans and give it a gentle final stir.  Simmer on low heat for another 20 minutes.  For a traditional bowl of chili or chili fries, make sure the mix is still soupy.  If you’re going to be making burritos or nachos, you’ll want the chili to simmer a bit longer so the juices evaporate for a firmer, meatier texture.

As I stated earlier, amount of spice & ingredients depends entirely on your taste and your family’s.  I’ve also added jalapeños, corn, and diced potato!  No matter what the recipe in your kitchen calls for, don’t forget the magical touch the cheese & sour cream give the end product.  And no matter what group size you’re cooking for, a whole pot of chili is always a good idea!

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