O hello cheese! You want in on this chili goodness too?
Chili is one of my all time favorite cold-weather meals. A big bowl of this, and we are happy campers no matter how much snow we've shoveled (well, not that we've been doing much of that this year!). Usually I make it on a Sunday afternoon when I have more time and there is enough to last us a couple nights. Thank goodness for things that taste just as good the next day and heat up easily.
This is based on a recipe from my mom but I've gussied it up and changed it a bit depending on how much heat and what kind of backdrop flavors I want to highlight. So go ahead, feel free to mix it up to make it hotter, lighter, spicier, or any "ers" that suit your fancy!
Gotta love free organic meat from your parent's farm.
Choose Your Own Adventure Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
(or ground turkey, chicken, or pork)
3 14 oz. cans of chili beans
2 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
(or 1 can + two freshly diced tomatoes)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large poblano pepper, rough chopped
(Prefer less heat? Use just one anaheim, poblano, or cubanelle pepper)
(Want to try it mild? Pick up a couple serranos or chipotles)
(Love it hot and spicy? Try a couple habaneros or jalapenos)
freshly ground pepper and salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
(cut the amount of these two in half for less spice)
To kick up the flavor (optional):
1/2 teaspoon beef bullion
2 TBLS ketchup
a few splashes of worcestershire sauce, to taste
(I'm currently experimenting with sriracha, crushed chili peppers, and dried peppers to layer the heat)
1. Finely chop the garlic and add to 1–2 TBLS of heated olive oil (medium heat).
2. Just when it starts to get golden, add in meat (be sure to salt and pepper it first), onion, and pepper. Sometimes, if I'm still working on chopping the vegetables, I add in just a bit of water at this point to slow the browning and give myself more time. Stir here and there until meat has browned.
3. Add in the optional flavorings at this point, as much or as little according to your own tastes.
4. Add chili beans and diced tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder.
5. Bring all the ingredients to a roiling boil and then immediately turn it down to medium heat. Let simmer for 1/2 to 1 hour until thickened, stirring now and then so it does not stick to the bottom.
6. Add more salt and pepper if you like before serving. Top each bowl with a bit of sharp chedder and switch into couch potato mode.
(...or monteray jack, or swiss...well, you get the idea...)