I once won a neighborhood Chili Cook-Off with my vegetarian chili recipe, which mixes bulgar wheat with the typical kidney beans and tomatoes to give a chewy, filling feel. These days I’m cooking with meat and chili is a great one-pot meal that can feed a crowd, but I’ve struggled to find a recipe I was happy with. So I set about stirring up my own. I’ve been fine-tuning for months to get the perfect proportion of meat to sauce and the tastiest mix of seasonings. I served this version for Halloween and again this week as our temperatures first dipped into winter. It was a hit! This will be a cold-season standby for my family for sure. And now I’ve got a new recipe to bring to the next Chili Cook-Off I’m invited to.
Makes 4-6 servings; double it to feed a crowd
- 3/4 cup dried kidney beans
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef (grass-fed if you can get it)
- 1/2 pound pork sausage (mildly spiced, locally raised if possible)
- 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- 3 cups diced tomatoes (can be fresh, frozen or canned)
- 1 cup tomato juice (can use more or less to get the consistency you like)
- for garnish: shredded cheese, chives or cilantro, sour cream
- Rinse dried beans. Then place in saucepan and cover with water. Add salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for about an hour or until beans are soft.
- In the meantime, brown meats in large, heavy bottom skillet or Dutch oven. Drain fat. Remove to bowl and set aside.
- Warm oil in that same Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic and jalapeño if using and sauté until they begin to soften. Lower heat to medium, add spices and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until tender.
- Add tomatoes and cook until they are heated and break down into a sauce, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir cooked meat back into the veggie mixture. Stir in cooked beans. Pour in tomato juice, one cup at a time until reach desired consistency. Bring mixture to a simmer and cover. Simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. Can add more tomato juice or water to keep chili at desired consistency.
- Scoop into bowls and garnish with favorite toppings. Serve with corn bread or tortilla chips.
This post was shared at Fiesta Friday #145.