I like chili. Wait, make that LOVE chili. All chili. I’m not picky, although I prefer versions that don’t singe my eyebrows with too much spicy heat. I’ve been an Oregonian for years now, but I grew up in
Now that the cold weather has started to roll in (the house was freezing this morning!), I thought today would be a great day to make a heaping pot of bone warming chili. I wanted to simply hold my steamy bowl and just be chillin’ with my chili. This is one of those dishes that I’ve made for years without really following a recipe; rather, I just used what was in my fridge/pantry. For today’s blog entry, though, I slowed down and paid attention to what I was tossing in here and there. I was a hit with 3 out of 5 in my household. My husband told me to make this as often as I wanted, he liked it so much. My older kids weren’t wild about it, but, you know, the food groups “touch” in chili, so I didn’t expect any different. We did have a break through, though, in that they said they liked how it smelled. Stubborn little beings!
This is a basic MILD chili. Here’s what I did:
1 ¼ lbs ground beef
½ large onion diced
1 green pepper diced (garden!)
3 garlic cloves minced and sprinkled with sea salt
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ generous teaspoon ancho chili powder
½ generous teaspoon pasilla chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 healthy shakes of ground cinnamon
5 large tomatoes, diced (garden!) – you could use a large can of diced toms
3/4 cup tom sauce
½ cup water
In a large dutch oven, add the ground beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic and heat over high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the ¼ cup of water, lower the heat to medium high and cook until the water has evaporated out all the while breaking up the beef into small bits.
See how the beef is broken down instead of clumpy? The water helps this process and also helps soften the onion and green pepper. Once the meat has browned, add all the chili powders, cumin, smoked paprika, and cinnamon. Stir. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Lower the heat to med, and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down. The chili will be really thick at this point, so add ½ cup of water along with the thyme and oregano. Let cook for about 10 more minutes. Uh oh, there’s that spoon again! Hey, I’m just checking to make sure the seasoning is correct!
Chili is such an awesome meal, and any leftovers lend themselves very easily to multiple dishes. Plus, this version is gluten free all the way, baby! Check these out.
Here it is again spooned over angel hair pasta. Add a dollop of sour cream and mix together for a really filling meal. Or, if you prefer elbows, you can make that famous chili-mac that graces many a bowl during football season.
Or, just spoon into a bowl and serve with Fritos (have you ever scooped up a bite of chili on a Frito? Mark that down as something to try in this lifetime. Yeah, yeah ... you might turn your nose up now, but trust me you'll thank me later!) Good ol' saltine crackers are a nice choice, too. Oh yeah, chillin’ with chili is a goooood thing.
One more thing, check out this lovely purple pepper! That’s so fun to say ... purple pepper, purple pepper! This purple goodie is from my garden and is a variety that I planted on a whim. The above photo shows it on the vine about 2 weeks ago. Here's how it looked when I picked it today!
I'll be tasting this little purple dude tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing if that glorious color stays intact when cooked! Have you ever had a purple pepper? Perhaps we could change the tongue twister to be "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Purple Peppers". Ok, ok. I'll stop now!