Certain foods just remind me of my childhood. Chili is one of them. I love chili so much I’d marry it. (Also filed under “things that used to be cool to say in middle school”).
Fantastically, my hubby and kids do too (Spoiler alert: I ended up marrying a hot Italian pilot instead of chili. Alas). Aliza, my two-year-old, ate three grown-up sized portions when I made it last week. So did I. Gracious, I’m getting hungry just writing this post. Good thing I have some of this simmering on the stove as I type.
So. I’ve been searching for the perfect chili recipe for years now. YEARS, I tell you! I just wanted a basic recipe that doesn’t call for any strange ingredients I don’t already have in my cupboards. I wanted it to taste good. Like really gooooood. Ya know what I’m sayin’? I wanted it to be the kind of recipe I could throw together in 20 minutes, or I could dress it up and experiment with it when I felt like having fun. And did I mention it has to taste amazing?
I’ve found it.
Or, rather, I sorta made it up.
There a bajillion ways to make chili, and probably many of them are really good. This recipe hits the sweet spot for me, and I will make it over and over again for years to come. I’ll share it with y’all here in case you too are in the middle of a noble quest for the perfect bowl of chili.
Here it is.
Beth’s (Comfort Food) Chili
a blob of butter (probably around a quarter cup or so – I don’t actually measure)
around 1 cup of diced sweet peppers (red, yellow, and/or orange)
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic – chopped into teeny bits (I find the flavour better when I chop rather than using the garlic press)
1.5-2 lbs ground beef (I use 2, but might use less if I needed to be a bit more frugal)
2-3 cans diced tomatoes (the big fat cans)
2-3 cups of cooked kidney beans (or a couple of cans, if you don’t use dried)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
a few shakes of black pepper
1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
4 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
1. Heat up your cast-iron pan to medium-low and throw your blob of butter into it. When it’s nice and sizzly go ahead and toss in your diced onions and peppers. Stir them around occasionally until the onions are translucent (that’s the clear one, right? I always get them mixed up) and the peppers are soft. Toss in the chopped up garlic and stir for another minute.
2. Add ground beef to pan and cook it until it’s browned and cozy with the onion party.
3. Meanwhile, get out your big stock pot and put in all the rest of the ingredients and get them simmering. Add the meat and onion mixture. It doesn’t actually really matter how it all comes together – just make sure the ingredients all get cozy and stay simmering for a while until they’re nicely melded. I like to simmer it all for a few hours before serving, if possible. It’s also even better as leftovers!
4. Serve with a salad on the side, and your choice of garnish. I love diced avocado, grated cheese, a blob of sour cream, and crumbled organic corn chips.
5. Adapt as you see fit, and make as much as your pot will hold. You’ll be fighting over the leftovers.
6. Come back and tell me if you loved it!