Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thick, Hearty Chili

1. Today was unbelievably busy. I don't think I stopped for even the tiniest break, from the time I sat down at 8:30, till the time I left at 5:15. I vaguely remember scarfing down my tuna sandwich somewhere around noon. It's also possible I imagined that.

2. I am utterly baffled at how I can go to Sunflower Market and buy a ton of meat and produce for $25, yet when I go to Target for a few canned goods and some dairy products, my total inevitably comes up to $50 or more. But then I watched Food, Inc. and it all made sense. (ha)

3. I made burgers for dinner tonight, along with sweet potato fries and wasabi mayo. Problem: I can't figure out how to get baked fries to be....crispy. I just can't. No matter what they're just kind of, well, limp. They taste awesome, don't get me wrong. But just....wimpy. The opposite of what crisp should ever be. So if any of you have any crispy baked fry secrets to share, I would love to hear them.

4. I figured it was about time to share something savory on the blog. The husband and I do a LOT of cooking together (contrary to what it may appear, we actually don't eat cookies and cupcakes for every meal. PS, someone please sign me up for THAT kind of life), but often it's too dark to take decent photos of the food, or (a much more likely and realistic scenario) I'm so hungry that I can't be bothered with all that nonsense of setting up a shot and can-I-just-eat-already?? Admittedly, I ate this chili for lunch the next day and that is when I took the photos.

Getting to the topic at hand: in my opinion, a big bowl of hearty chili is the best kind of meal during the cold and (seemingly) endless winter. Before I became really interested in baking (even before I was ever comfortable stepping foot in a kitchen, period) I still made chili. There's just something about a meal where essentially all you do is throw everything into a big pot and heat it up, that makes the whole notion of cooking not so intimidating. Over the years I have adapted this recipe, adding new seasonings or veggies, but that is the beautiful thing about chili: it is infinitely customizable to your liking.
P.S. Feel free to omit the cilantro if you like. I'm a giant weirdo and could eat fresh cilantro in just about anything. I encourage you to try it, though. Cilantro just gives it that extra "fresh" boost. I. Love. It.

Thick, Hearty Chili
Makes 6-8 servings

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (15.5 oz.) chili beans
2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel tomatoes (mild)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 packet mild chili seasoning (I used McCormick brand)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Hot sauce, to taste (I used Cholula)
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Heat olive oil in nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, and garlic to the pan and saute 5 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot over low heat, add chili beans, Rotel tomatoes, tomato paste, and chili seasoning packet, stirring to combine. Add your sauteed onions/peppers to the pot.

Using the same frying pan, add the ground beef and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook until completely browned. Drain the beef, then add to the stock pot, stirring to combine.

Turn heat up to medium. Season with chili powder and smoked paprika. Stir in hot sauce and honey. At this point, I will usually try a spoonful to determine what other seasonings are necessary. Add a little salt and pepper if you need to.

Once it is good and hot, cover and let cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

I like to eat my chili with shredded cheddar, Greek yogurt, and (more) fresh cilantro on top. What about you?

1 comment:

  1. Once again Emily you exceeded my expectations, with one exception. I didn't get to taste the chili! But it looks awesome and that is only possible because of your ability to take such amazing pictures! Impressive!