The five soups/stews in my rotation for Souper Sundays (the adorable name I use for making a massive amount of food before the work week) are: chicken vegetable, mushroom barley, hambone, roasted vegetable, and chili. The first four have been covered to varying degrees on this blog, but I’ve never talked much about my chili so I figured it was time to address it. Also, I didn’t want to do two WCIC posts back to back so this was the only alternative.
I love chili and the best part is that it will be good with pretty much any meat you have in your fridge. However, over the years I’ve found myself incapable of making a reasonable amount of chili and always end up with a ridiculous amount that I could never finish.
With painstaking precision and effort, I’ve finally figured out how to make enough chili for exactly five large, filling lunch portions. It’s not traditional, and has a couple odd ingredients, but at least you won’t end up with extra frozen chili in your freezer that nobody would ever willingly eat.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 medium onion
3 tbsp chopped garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5-2 lbs meat
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
12 oz beer
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can black or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
salt & black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325F and heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large oven-safe pot with a heavy lid or a medium dutch oven (I use ‘lil blue). Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic.
Once the onions have cooked for 5-10 minutes and become a bit translucent, add in 1.5 to 2 pounds of meat. It doesn’t really matter what you use for this recipe, I generally use ground turkey or chicken or both, but in this case I used a little leftover cubed pork tenderloin and some freezer burned chuck steak.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and brown the meat, stirring regularly. After a few minutes there should be some liquid that has cooked off in the base of the pot and the meat should no longer have any red or pink on it. Add the cayenne pepper and the onion/garlic/cumin/chili powders, then stir well to completely coat all of the meat.
After a few minutes of cooking the meat, onions, and garlic with the seasoning, pour in 12-16 ounces of beer. I like to go on the 16 end of the spectrum especially if there is more meat, but it means you will have to drink the rest of the beer. Cry me a friggin’ river.
Once the beer is in the pot, raise the burner temperature to high and heat until the liquid starts to bubble. Then throw in those two bouillon cubes that you didn’t understand why they were on the ingredients list.
The bouillon cubes mostly came out of a plan to compensate for the lack of meaty flavor when using turkey or chicken in chili. So I tried a couple bouillon cubes, and when combined with beer it was basically like adding a half carton of beer flavored beef broth. Certainly not a bad thing.
Once the liquid reduces by about a quarter, add in the can of crushed tomatoes and stir well.
Once the tomatoes are well stirred in and heated up a bit, put the lid on and place in the preheated 325F oven for two hours. I recommend you spend that time closing the doors to ever room that contains clothing in your apartment and putting all of the jackets in the closet, unless you want to smell like the kid who is cooking chili in his pants.
After two hours you can remove from the oven and take the lid off.
Add the can of fully rinsed beans and the cup of corn.
After a good stir, the lid goes back on and the pot heads back into the oven for another hour. Which will leave you with this:
Once it comes out of the oven, you can take the lid off and put the pot over medium heat for few minutes if there is excess liquid you’d like to cook off. You can also taste and make any last minute seasoning adjustments you see fit. I occasionally add a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar to give a hint of contrasting sweetness, which is a nice touch in chili I think.
That recipe should make about 7-8 cups of thick and hearty chili, great as a lunch or even better as a nacho topping. The best part of chili is that you could add any of the leftovers in your fridge and likely make it even better. And, as always, just remember that I have no idea what I am talking about and what I am doing so the last thing you should do is follow a recipe I made up.