We woke up this morning to our first snow of the year in Western North Carolina! Granted it was more of a dusting than accumulations, but it was snow nonetheless. I love love snow! I took a quick picture and sent it to my son and his wife in Alabama since I’m figuring they’re probably not going to be seeing much if any down there, so they can share in the excitement!
On a cold snowy day, I love a big pot of soup, stew or some kind of chili. A nice thick hearty chili chocked full of meat, beans and corn is a favorite of mine. That’s what I thought of this morning and I want to share my favorite chili recipe. Here, I did it on the cook top, but you can transfer it into your slow cooker and let it simmer all day. It’s one that will make you feel warm and comfort in each and every bite. Add a cake of southern cornbread slathered with a stick of butter and I’m all set!
Tip: When you’re fixing this for one, two or a few people, this will give you some great leftovers. For us, I let the chili cool and put it into freezer containers and freeze. It freezes perfectly! During the week when I need a quick and easy dinner after work, I pull one of the containers out in the morning and let it thaw in the refrigerator all day. I have forgotten to do that and pulled it out of the freezer after I got home and heated it up, it just takes a little longer.
Here’s how I make it.
In a large pot, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until it’s almost done. Drain any excess fat.
The leaner the beef, the less fat you’ll have. My personal preference is ground chuck. I feel like it has the right balance. Another thing I’ve done here is split the meat into 1 pound of ground beef plus 1 pound of beef stew meat. I actually did that because I didn’t have 2 pounds of ground beef in the freezer and the beef stew meat was what I did have on hand. It works great as long as you’re simmering the chili for awhile so the stew meat gets nice and tender.
Stir in the chopped shallots. You can substitute some red or sweet yellow onion for the shallots.
Stir in the bell pepper. Finish browning the meat, onions and peppers until the meat is cooked through and the onions and peppers are soft.
You can probably see in the photo here that these bell peppers are frozen. When I get them out of my garden and I know I really don’t need them for a meal any time soon, I’ll go ahead and chop them up and freeze them in freezer bags. Sure does come in handy when I don’t have fresh on hand!
Add the garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate throughout the meat mixture.
Add the drained kidney beans, black beans and frozen corn.
If you like a bit of punch like we do, add the chopped jalapenos.
You can probably see here that the jalapenos are frozen as well. See a theme going on here?
Now add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. I like the creaminess of the sauce with the texture of the diced tomatoes. If I have a can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos already in it, I like to use that one. You can certainly use what ever you have on hand.
To me, tomato paste really adds a nice depth of flavor to the sauce. I use all of a small can.
Stir well, put on the lid and bring it to a nice boil. Turn down the burner to a low setting and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. If you do decide to use stew meat, let that simmer for a couple of hours. Truly, the longer it simmers, the better the flavors marry, in my humble opinion…
Top it with some cheddar cheese and that’s a meal fit for sitting in front of the fireplace enjoying the winter weather. If you have any leftovers, don’t forget to freeze some!
Chili is one of those dishes that have so many options. What is your favorite chili?
Here’s the printer friendly recipe.