Just like good gumbo, everyone has their favorite chili recipe. Texas beef with no beans, white chicken chili, even vegetarian, but I make my flavor packed version with black beans for added fiber, and to create texture.
Since our kids were little and heading out to trick or treat with my husband pulling them along in their red radio flyer wagon, chili has been on our menu Halloween night. All of the parents would end up at our house for a bowl of warm chili and a cold beer, while costumed little ones ran through the yard gripping a chili dog in one hand and swinging their loot of sweets in the other.
Though our children are now grown and out of the house, the doorbell still rings non stop come all hallows eve, and the spicy beef stew still bubbles away on the stove top, with an open invitation for friends and family to drop by.
Whether Halloween, a rainy day, or the Super Bowl, it’s hard to beat a bowl of comforting chili topped with freshly grated cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream on top!
My Famous Chili
(Feeds 6 to 8. Double the recipe for a crowd.)
Like all great stews, the flavors develop as this dish sits, so go ahead and make a pot of chili up a day or two ahead of time and rewarm it to serve, a well thought out game plan!
4 tablespoons good olive oil
2 full pounds ground beef (Ground turkey breast for a healthier version).
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon oregano powder
1 (12-ounce) bottle favorite beer (darker gives stronger flavor. I like to use local craft beer. For keto/low carb stick to low carb beer.)
1 (15-ounce) can black or kidney beans rinsed and drained. Omit for low carb/keto.
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 1⁄4 ounces dark chocolate
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional, but highly recommended)
1 tablespoon favorite hot sauce (Crystal, Frank’s, or Tobasco)
2 tablespoons Heinz No Sugar Ketchup
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Serve with the optional toppings of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sliced scallions, sliced avocado, chopped jalapeno, and sour cream. And, fresh baked cornbread or your favorite corn chips (we like Frito Scoops) on the side. Omit for low carb/keto.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the olive oil, onion, and bell pepper stirring for 3-4 minutes, and then add the garlic, jalapeño, chili, oregano and cumin powder, stirring another 3-4 minutes.
While veggies are sizzling, in a large skillet on a different burner cook 2 pounds of ground beef over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain and add to the Dutch Oven.
Add the tomatoes (grip in clean hand and squish) with juices, beer, one-cup beef or chicken broth, beans, dark chocolate, ketchup, salt, pepper and reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Add more broth and season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt as needed.
Note: If needed, to thicken the chili before serving, place 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour that’s found in the Mexican food section of the supermarket), or regular flour in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Omit for Keto/lowcarb.
Tip: Make this recipe on a busy week night by using a slow cooker. Cook on the LOW setting for 7 hours, stirring occasionally, and test-tasting often.
Beverage: Enjoy a cold beer or chilled glass of French Rosé, key for a dish loaded with cumin and chiles. The wine throws red-berry fruit into the mix. Its lightness counteracts the heaviness of the beef.