Chili Con Carne

How many of us were making chili last weekend to celebrate the changing weather and the start of football season?  There is something so natural about making a big pot of soup or chili as the weather begins to turn and we need something to warm us from the inside.  I have mentioned that soup is one of my favorite things to make and I think I will make an effort this season to post more soup recipes, because even if they are not terribly gourmet, they make for great weeknight meals in winter.  They are easy to freeze or make ahead and I find them to be nicely soul satisfying.

DSC_0005

Over the years we have tried many different types of chili recipes.  Chili is the kind of food where people have very strong opinions about what makes chili, chili – high heat, no heat, with beans, no beans, etc…   This is a good time to mention that I was a vegetarian for about 20 years, so the idea that I am making chili con carne at all is something that my younger self might have scoffed at.  But, now that I do eat meat, my husband loves to kid me about being a “recovering vegetarian”.  So even when we make meat dishes, whatever we make is usually loaded with vegetables too.  This is relevant because as we start talking about chili, you will see that I am in the camp that believes in incorporating lots of beans, tomatoes and vegetables to round out this hearty dish.  But do what pleases you.

The chili we love most comes from epicurious.com.  We have been making this recipe for a couple of years now and it is always gobbled up.  The original recipe is called Chili Con Carne with Chili Cheddar Shortcakes and is from Gourmet magazine.  What I like about this version is that it is very classic and a nice base for whatever you like to add.  You make the whole recipe in one pot, which certainly cuts down on clean up.  The cider vinegar adds a nice tang, that you wouldn’t know you want, but you do.  The carrots mellow things out.  I also recommend using a lean or extra lean type of ground beef since you don’t drain the meat in this recipe, but rather just add to the vegetables that are already cooking.   Lastly, the thing I love most about chili, in general, is all the interesting toppings one can add!  We usually make up a batch of cornbread and then add chopped onion, avocado, grated cheese, sour cream and hot sauce (of course)!  I made a double batch of the below this Sunday and we had plenty left over to freeze.

DSC_0059 DSC_0065 DSC_0071 DSC_0072 DSC_0075 DSC_0077 DSC_0085 DSC_0089 DSC_0090 DSC_0094

 

DSC_0001

 

Chili Con Carne

serves 6 generously

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, ground coarse in batches in a food processor or by the butcher 
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • two 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 19-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
In a large pot cook the onions in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened.  Add the garlic and the carrots, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the chuck and cook it over moderate heat, stirring and breaking up any lumps, for 10 minutes, or until it is no longer pink.  Add the chili powder, the cumin, the paprika, the oregano, and the red pepper flakes and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the tomato sauce, the broth, and the vinegar, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it, covered, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Add the kidney beans, the bell peppers, and salt and black pepper to taste and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the bell peppers are tender.
This recipe is easy to make for a crowd.  It can be made a day or two in advance, as the flavors will only get better as they have time to mingle.
Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Chili Con Carne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s