Chili Season Is Here

Cold miserable weekend? Check. Football consistently playing from the living room? Check. Cold beer in the fridge? Check. Well, guess the only thing missing is some chili.

But what recipe to use? There are the die-hard traditionalists that will sooner chop their pinky off than put beans in their bowl of red. There are new age hippies who forgo any meat products and actually, honest to God, put tofu in theirs. I fall somewhere in the middle. Actually I think I’d get along better with those pinky-less traditionalists.

But I use beans. I use diced veggies. I use regular ol’ ground beef, not perfectly cubed tri-tip. Traditionalists would look at my chili and shrug and say “Meh.” Well, they’re entitled to their opinions, and so are the new age hippies, as long as they both keep them to themselves.

Chili is personal. Chili is like a fingerprint, everyone has their little variances. Some put a pinch of cinnamon, some chocolate, some beer. I’ve tried them all. No matter how little cinnamon I use, it still tastes too much like cinnamon. Using chocolate is a great way to waste chocolate, and using beer not only makes the chili taste bitter and “skunked,” but deprives me of actually drinking it while cooking chili. That isn’t to say I don’t have a few little tricks.

First is cooking my own beans. I can’t say that this really adds a ton of flavor, chili is bold flavored anyway, but it does allow me to control not only the salt content of my finished chili, but the texture and firmness of the beans. By cooking dried beans I get to control  another layer of texture in what can quickly become overcooked and mushy stew.

The second is a pork chop. I find that a bone in pork chop is another layer of meaty goodness that plays very well with the beef. Searing off one of these in the chili pot and scraping up the brown bits, then actually dunking the chop in the chili as it cooks essentially is infusing that porky essence into the chili the same way that a stock does.

Check out the video how-to above, and the complete recipe below.

Simple Chili

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 1 bone in pork chop

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 green pepper, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 1 jalapeño, diced

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder

  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce

  • 3/4 quart chicken stock (low sodium)

  • 1 cup dried black beans

  • 1 cup dried small red beans

  • 1/2 onion, quartered

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

In a separate pot, add the dried beans, quartered onion, and garlic cloves. Cover with 2 quarts of water, and bring to a simmer. Do this first, before prepping the rest of the chili. Cook until the beans are the desired consistency, they should be done about the same time the chili is.

Sear the pork chop in the chili pot, set aside. Brown the ground beef in the same pot, adding half the cumin and chili powder. Add the onion and peppers, deglazing with the tomato sauce. Add the remaining spices and cook until the sauce is reduced slightly into a paste. Add the chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until the desired consistency. Drain and add the beans to heat through, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.





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