Could there be anything better on a cold night?
Being as it’s fall, and chilly out, and because I’m craving comfort food on a daily basis, and because I lo-o-ovve it, I’m now on a soup kick. And today it’s chili.
It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Honest.
Start with beans.
Because chili just isn’t chili without beans.
Well, it is, but it isn’t the same!
Now, if you were the ambitious sort you could certainly select an assortment of dried beans and soak them overnight and really start from scratch, but me? I am not ambitious. I am lazy. So I chose to use canned beans.
You can use any beans you like…you can use just one kind of bean, or two kinds of beans, or as many kinds of beans as you like really.
Today I used four different kinds of beans: Black beans, Pinto beans, Navy beans and Red kidney beans.
Why? Because four 15 oz cans of beans just seemed like the right amount to use, and four different kinds of beans just seemed like the right thing to do.
Variety. It is good.
Drain and rinse your beans and set them aside.
And now let’s really get to work.
Brown up a pound of ground beef with salt and pepper in a large, heavy pot.
And if you’re like me and you just can’t leave well enough alone, go ahead and throw in a half pound of bulk breakfast sausage in there too.
I love adding breakfast sausage to my chili. I tried it one day when I had some leftover and now I can’t live without it in my chili. It adds insane flavor and richness!
Just break it up and brown it up then shove it over to one side of your pot and add in an onion
And lots of smashed garlic
And then stir all that up and let it cook for a few minutes more, stirring often to keep it from sticking.
Meanwhile, line up your spices.
Um. I suppose you could use a packet of pre-mixed chili seasoning. I mean, you could, but where’s the fun?
So (from top to bottom), it’s several tablespoons of cumin, a couple of teaspoons of ground red pepper, several tablespoons of chili powder (not to be confused with chili seasoning), some smoked paprika and a good dose of oregano.
You could use Mexican oregano if you have some on hand. I, however, have used all mine up. So regular old Mediterranean oregano it is!
Dump all that into the pot with the meat and onions and garlic!
Yum. It smells heavenly.
There’s something on my camera. Sorry. It’s probably steam.
Then again, in a kitchen you can just never be sure.
Well, in my kitchen you can never be sure.
Stir this all up…
Look at that amazing color!
Then dump in two 10 oz cans of tomatoes with chilis, a can of tomato sauce, and 32 oz. of beef stock.
Stir this up and add in your drained and rinsed beans!
(I also added a grated carrot in at this point, but I didn’t take a picture of it. Just to be sneaky. And in case there are any small children who have an aversion to vegetables looking at the photos in this post. I think grated carrot adds just a smidge of sweetness and extra flavor that really makes a big difference in the finished chili, not to mention all the vitamins and nutrients it adds! But shhh. Don’t tell your kids. If you don’t say anything, chances are they won’t even notice you added it. They don’t have to know that chili can be good for you…)
Now let it simmer.
Let it simmer for a long time.
Let it simmer all day, if you have it.
Or let it simmer for about 30 minutes and call it good, and it will be good, but it won’t be the same!
Top with ample amounts of cheese, and maybe some sliced green onions.
You know, to make it purty.
Serve up with cornbread or warm tortillas.
You’ll be warm all the way down to your toenails!
Here’s the recipe!
4 15 oz. cans of beans (traditionally pinto beans, but choose a variety of what sounds good to you today!)
1 lb. ground beef
½ lb. bulk pork breakfast sausage
1 large onion, diced
6-8 cloves of garlic, smashed into paste
3-4 tablespoons cumin
2 tsp. ground red pepper (or cayenne pepper) optional
3-4 tablespoons chili powder
2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tsp. oregano
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilis
32 oz. beef stock (preferably low sodium)
1 large carrot, grated (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream)
Brown meats in a large pot over medium heat, breaking up into small bits. When mostly cooked through, add onion, salt and pepper and continue to brown. Add in garlic and seasonings, stir. Add in tomato sauce, tomatoes with chilis, beef stock, grated carrot (if using) and beans. Stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes (or preferably for a few hours).
Serve with cheese and any other desired toppings, with cornbread or warm tortillas on the side.
Eat and be happy!