Steph’s Kick A** Chili

I’ve been making this for years but never in June! We had friends coming  over yesterday for what was supposed to be BBQ and S’mores by the fire pit.  When I woke up and saw rain stuck to my windows, my culinary voice just flat out told me, “Chili.”It’s one of my favorites. Easy to do ahead, always left overs (well, sometimes!) and even better the next day. Super hearty and filling. This with a hunk of crusty bread and a beer or glass of wine and you’re good. A salad (thanks Karen!) with a light dressing like a balsamic would be the way to start. After you drool over the photo, run out for the ingredients! Yes, I gave you the recipe! You lucky dogs…

INGREDIENTS:

Olive Oil | Salt | Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes |Cumin | Bay Leaves | Fresh Cilantro

Garlic  (4 cloves ) |  Onion (1 small)

Red | Green | Yellow Bell Pepper (1 each)

Black Beans | Red Beans | Corn (1 can each)

Small jar of your favorite salsa (mine is Newman’s Own-Chunky Newman’s Black Bean and Corn is good for this too!)

Can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (you can use others but these are the best crushed tomatoes for any recipe that calls for it) They are $$$ but getting easier to find. Whole Foods and the Fruit Center has them for my local friends.

1lb or so of ground beef or sirloin. Don’t go too lean on this. Do a healthy version of this later with turkey but for now, go for the beef with the higher fat content. Fat = flavor.

So here’s my disclaimer, (which I’ll probably put in all my recipes going forward) I am not a chef. I will never call myself a chef. I just love to cook. I don’t measure much and just estimate by sounds and sight. I’ll help you along but give you approximates too so you can measure and tweak on your own going forward. Also, I salt everything in layers instead of all in the beginning or end. It will seem like a lot, it’s not, and it will taste perfect! Right, Susan???:)

DIRECTIONS

In a large stock pot (that has a lid) heat about 4 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. Chop the garlic, onion and half of each pepper. (Save the extra peppers for a salad tomorrow!) You can use a mini chopper for this too to save time and tears. Saute all the veges til they are soft. Add a pinch of salt to this layer.

Add the ground beef and break it up while turning every minute or so until it’s just browned. About 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to this layer. Medium/High heat here.

Empty your beans and corn in the same strainer and give them a quick rinse to get the starchy liquid out. Add them to the veges and beef, stir it up and yup…add a pinch of salt to this layer.

Add your salsa and crushed tomatoes and last pinch of salt.

Of course any of these ingredients you can do more or less of depending on your tastes. Here’s what I do for the rest:

2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes | 3 heaping TBSP of Cumin and a crank or two black pepper.

Stir well, reduce to a low simmer and cover. I stir this every 20 minutes or so. The first time you check it to stir it will look watery, don’t worry, just stir it all up again and leave it back to simmer. The longer it cooks the better. Yesterday it was on Low for 5 hours. You can have this ready in the time it takes to heat it all through but the flavors and textures just don’t compare to letting it simmer for at least an hour or a day!

When you stir it check that it’s not sticking to the bottom. If it feels that way, reduce to a lower heat.

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before serving. Nothing worse than chewing on one of those…

Garnish with Cilantro. Sky is the limit with toppings! YUM!!!

PREP TIME: 15-20 Minutes
COOK TIME: Minimum of One Hour
SERVINGS: 10-12
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Does it really matter???