Do you have a favorite chili recipe?
My husband LOVES to put together a chili – and usually we go out and buy the mainstay ingredients that are always included (ie. bell peppers, onions, beans) and he usually adds a handful of scotch bonnet peppers or some other super hot pepper – whatever he can track down that day at the grocery store, and chop it all up and toss it into the pot and add any seasonings he sees fit until the pot is full, bubbling and smells strongly of a chili that will move mountains – or at least have you running for a tall glass of milk to put that inevitable fire out in your mouth! Either way, it is one of his favorite dishes to make.
Everyone has a recipe for a chili, whether it is one that was passed down to them or found on the internet or in a cookbook and everyone does chili in a different way. Some with beans, some without. Some with meat, others without.
Top Chef Texas did a chili cook-off as one of their elimination challenges and the reviews from all the native Texan tasters varied greatly in what they considered to be an authentic chili and what each should and shouldn’t have in it. None of the chilis had beans in it which seem to be a popular and traditional decision as including them would have been a cardinal sin in Texas, which left the chefs racing for prime cuts of meat at Whole Foods so they could make the most flavorful and successful chili of the bunch.
Nonetheless, many of the chefs chose to stay up all night to babysit their chilies with varying degrees of success. One of the teams make a very traditional chili that warmed many a Texan’s heart and the other group chose to make a chili mole that was the least favorite of the chilis but was certainly the most creative! The challenge did spur a lot of conversation on what makes a good chili and what a chili really is.
If you ask my dad, a good chili is one that is four days old so the flavors have really had a chance to sit and meld.
Everyone has a different answer to that question though based on their upbringing, experiences and taste.
But is there really a great answer to that question?
All I judge a chili on is the ingredients and level of heat it produces. I like one that has a range of flavors, bell peppers, onions and beans and isn’t too spicy or hot. This recipe, that is supposedly Jimmy Fallon’s favorite, is certainly tasty and I really love the beer in it! The flavor of the beer is incredibly light and subtle the first day and completely gone by the second, leaving the chili even more flavorful than the first day! I LOVE this one, and it lends itself very well to a slow-cooker, meaning you can make quite a bit of this and have a bunch of people over to eat this with! Or better yet, take it outside for a backyard camp-out!
Either which way, that funny Jimmy Fallon is right on the money with this one!
Ingredients: adapted from Marthastewart.com
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 3-1/2 lb ground chuck (or other ground beef, one with a little fat will taste the best here)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped (keep seeds in if you want to make it really hot)
- 1/4 C chile powder
- 1 TS dried oregano
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
- two 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1/3 C fresh cilantro, chopped
- one 12 oz amber beer
- two 15 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- one 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- tortilla chips, shredded cheddar, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, minced cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
In a large skillet, heat 1 TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat then brown the ground beef (chuck), seasoning with salt and pepper. Drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to the skillet, then reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, garlic and habanero then season with salt and cook until transluscent, about five minutes.
Combine the beef, onion mixture, chile powder, oregano, cumin and cayenne in the slow-cooker then stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, cilantro and beer/ale then cover and cook on high, stirring occasionally (if you can) for five hours.
Add the kidney and black beans, season with more salt and pepper to taste if necessary then cook, uncovered about 30 minutes until slightly thickened. Garnish with cilantro and top with desired toppings and serve piping hot on it’s own or over rice. The cilantro was the perfect refreshing finish to this otherwise mildly hot dish!