Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Man Chili

This was the first weekend that it was cold enough to light the fireplace.  Yay!  When you live down here in the deep South, the cooler weather is SUCH a relief!   So anyway, I was all set to make a nice, light turkey chili.  My husband, however, said he would prefer the traditional beef.  After all, he's a MAN... he needs MAN CHILI!  Ha.  Well those of you who know him will agree that he is such an amazing person, and would pretty much do anything I asked of him - so conceding to make "Man Chili" was a very easy request.  That got me thinking.  There are a ton of "alternative" chili recipes out there, but when it comes down to comfort food, most people I know want the real deal.  So this is a basic recipe for regular, comfortable, delicious "man chili."    

The awesome thing about chili is that after the meat is browned, you basically dump the rest of the ingredients together and just let it do its thing.  That's great for people who have tons of other things going on.  It's also great because a recipe like this is just begging to be brought to a good tailgating party, or for little Trick-or-Treaters to come in from the cold streets.  This chili is equally comfortable in a big steaming bowl, or ladled over big juicy hot dogs.  So go ahead - make a big batch of it.  It freezes beautifully, and it takes the same amount of time to make a big batch as a small one.  May as well have an extra meal waiting for you in the freezer, right?! 

Note - this chili is well seasoned and flavorful, but it is NOT spicy hot.  So this one IS appropriate for your whole family, including heat sensitive little people.

Print this Recipe!
 
Ingredients: (For 6 - 8 very generous portions)
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 packages of chili seasoning
  • 1 can red kidney beans 
    • I used the ones that  say "with chili gravy"
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes
    • chopped.  WITH the juice.
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (use much less if using table salt)
  • 1 Tbsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 (12oz) bottle dark amber beer
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Step-by-step:
Begin by browning your meat.  I used 85/15 because I think it needs that amount of fat in it.  If you want to go leaner, go for it. 
2 1/2 pounds ground beef (85/15)
After the meat is browned and crumbled, add in the onions and peppers. Let them cook down until softened, then mix in the other ingredients. 
1 large onion, chopped
I am using peppers that I previously cut and froze.  Why?  Because freezing swells the water in the cells of the pepper flesh, which helps them break down a lot faster than the fresh ones.  So any time I have leftover fresh peppers, I just throw them in the freezer for times like this.

1 cup mixed bell peppers, chopped

Then just let it simmer on about medium low for a good long while (at least 30 minutes) until all the veggies are tender and all the flavors are married together. Really, the longer the better.
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
Yep.  I am indeed starting with a seasoning packet.  If you want to go totally from scratch, do so.  But many people are more comfortable having a good solid starting point on their flavor base.  It certainly cuts down on the amount of spices I portion out.  But of course I'll add lots of my own as well.
2 packages of chili seasoning
I'm not a fan of chili with TOO many beans in it.  So one can gives me enough beans to see, and to have that change of texture, but not so many as to have "bean chili" as I've seen some places.
1 can red kidney beans
Why am I using whole tomatoes if I'm going to chop them up? 
Whole tomatoes are held to a higher standard in the canning process than diced one (the leftover pieces and parts??).  So I know that these will have been picked and canned at the height of ripeness and were the "cream of the crop" so to speak.  If you prefer, you can chop them right in the can, or in the pot.  Either way is fine, depending on the size of tomato pieces you want.
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

Now let's season this baby up!
I like lots of cumin.  It gives me a great smoky Mexican'ish flavor, but WITHOUT the heat that straight chili powder blends can have.  My family is very heat sensitive, so this suits them better.
1 Tbsp cumin
If you go with table salt, rather than kosher salt, you will need less.
2 tsp kosher salt (use much less if using table salt)
Now comes all the secret ingredients.  The things that people can't quite put their fingers on. 
If you don't have ground mustard, use a little yellow mustard (but ground mustard is not as strong).
1 Tbsp ground mustard
The people "in the know" have told me that the secret to a great chili is a little cinnamon.  Really?!  Who knew?  I started checking around, and it seems that maybe I was the only person who DIDN'T know this?  Geez, where have I been?  This is not enough to make it taste like cinnamon toast, however.  It just mellows out the acid perhaps from the tomatoes.
1 tsp cinnamon
Dark amber beer.  Not my choice for drinking, but I love it in the chili as it has that molasses flavor lingering in the background.
1 (12oz) bottle dark amber beer
The apple cider vinegar wakes it up.  Without enough acid in the mix, your chili can taste "flat."  This brings out the flavors and wakes them up.
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
So here we have it.... just regular old "man chili."  Nothing for your guys to turn their noses up at - like adding corn and turkey or tofu, or anything out of the ordinary.  Because sometimes, we just want things like they've always been.
Yum.  Perhaps you are out at the football field tailgating?  Maybe you just came in from skiing the slopes at a mountain lodge?  Maybe you just came in from a long day at work or school in the cool weather.  This is a bowl of chili that will definitely warm you up as you snuggle by the fire. 
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe!  
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Here are some "bonus" recipes for you:
Tomato Basil Chicken

Oriental Cole Slaw

Peanut Butter Cups - Just Like Reese's

Sour Cream Banana Bread

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tortellini

Toasted Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

Crawfish Pie


Grown Up Pizza Wraps

Written Method:
Begin by browning your meat.  I used 85/15 because I think it needs that amount of fat in it.  If you want to go leaner, go for it.  After the meat is browned and crumbled, add in the onions and peppers.  Let them cook down until softened, then mix in the other ingredients.  Then just let it simmer on about medium low for a good long while (at least 30 minutes) until all the veggies are tender and all the flavors are married together.  Really, the longer the better.

2 comments:

  1. I could man up to a bowl (or two) of that. And to make it a great Woman Chili; simply add chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks delicious! Going to try this tonight for "hair night with the girls!"

    ReplyDelete

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