in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chasing Away the Chills

Quick, Mild Beef and Bean Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced sweet onion
3/4 cup finely diced bell pepper--orange or red preferred
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 (12 oz) cans beef chunks in broth
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
1 (15 oz) can small red beans
1 (15 oz) can petite dice tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon beef stock paste (or beef bullion granules)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Heinz 57 steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons extra dark chocolate chips (optional)
For serving:
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup salsa
Place a large pot over medium high heat. When pan is heated, pour in the olive oil. When oil is hot, add vegetables and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to be translucent. Add chili powder and paprika. Continue to cook and stir for another minute or until spices become very fragrant. Add beef chunks with broth. Add beans--one can with liquid and one can drained. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beef stock paste, ketchup, steak sauce and salt. Once the chili is heated through, stir in the chocolate (optional). Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes if you have time, or serve immediately. Serve bowls topped with some cheddar cheese and salsa.

Hints: Use a food processor to chop the veggies quickly, though the dicing will yield a more uniform appearance, the flavor will be the same. I buy the beef chunks at Costco and have several recipes that I really like them in. They make for a quick meal and are always tender and tasty. However you can do this recipe with beef stew chunks, browning them in a small amount of fat and cooking them until tender in a small amount of beef broth, covering the pan (or use a pressure cooker). Game meats also work well. Reserve the liquid from both cans of beans and add only what is necessary so that the chili is just the right thickness. Two cans of any type of bean will work fine-I like the mixture but you can use what ever you like or have on hand. If you use chili beans, decrease the amount of chili powder to about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as they will already have some chili powder in them. You can omit the 57 sauce and just use 2 tablespoons ketchup if you want. A really good hot pepper sauce is great to have on the table for those who like to "wake up" their chili. The chocolate provides an extra dimension to the chili but not everybody cares for it. Try it sometime and see if you like it.

Doesn't everybody love a steaming bowl of chili on a crisp fall evening? With some cornbread or breadsticks and maybe a cup of hot cider? My big brother Craig likes to "wake up" meals with a shot or two of Tabasco. My son Neal uses Cholula sauce. I'm partial to a great salsa or horseradish. Every culture has some type of condiment that pack a heat wallop--from wasabi to hot mustard to killer Thia chilies. I love it all! When your sinuses clear and your eyes water, you know you have a good dish! 

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