Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beef and Bean Chili

So my family LOVES chili and I have come up with this recipe that is fairly simple to make and has some versatile options. So here you go!

Debbie's Beef and Bean Chili
1-2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeƱo, minced
2 lbs ground beef, look for an 85 or 90% fat
2 tbsp flour
1 4oz can diced green chiles, I like Hatch if you can find them.
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced- my favorite brand is Embasa

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (for extra punch try 2 14 oz cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes)
2-3 40 oz cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I like a lot of beans, but if you like it meatier do the 2 cans)
1/4 cup good quality chili powder
1 heaping tbsp oregano
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp Caldo De Pollo

1 - 2 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper
Use large pot and heat to medium high heat, add oil and onions. Toss in a pinch of salt, this helps to soften the onions. Stir onions for about 2-3 minutes, not going for color, just limpness, then turn the heat to medium and add garlic and jalepeno and saute for another 1-2 minutes (a good clue is when you smell the garlic). Add in the ground beef and turn the heat back up to med high to high heat, breaking up the ground beef as you stir it in. I like to use a wooden spatula , 
it is strong and has a nice flat surface to help break up the meat. Once the meat is cooked, sprinkle on the flour and stir it around so it it fully coated on the meat and has absorbs the oil. Once you see no more flour start adding your canned goods. The green chilies,chipotles (these are spicy so it is important to use just one or two and chop them very finely, don't want someone to bite into a big piece), tomatoes (juice and all) and pinto beans. Stir all well then add in the spices, chili powder, oregano, cumin and Caldo de Pollo. Again, stir well. At this point the mixture should have a nice brick red appearance.

I usually taste at this point for seasonings. Every flavor will get deeper as it cooks and so I don't  recommend adding any additional salt at this point, but I am not sure how to explain this but if it doesn't taste CHILI enough, or look red enough, I sometimes will add another tablespoons of chili powder. (Chili powder looses its kick as it sits on a shelf, so even if you bought it at the grocery store, you don't know how long it has been there and so you may need to make up for that lack of flavor by adding more) Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, stir and bring up to a simmer. Reserve the other cup for the process, if it seems after a half hour of cooking that it needs more liquid go ahead and add a half a cup then wait again another 15 minutes. (The cooking process allows the beans to break down a little and tomatoes to release some liquid so even when you add everthing to the pot it seems not very liquidy it is ok, it will be more so in that first 15-30 mins) Once it is simmering, lower the heat to low or med low. You want it to simmer lightly not boil with bubble breaking (if you do that you will get burning on the bottom of the chili). I like to set my lid on but not covering completely, just sort of offset to let the steam release. The thing about chili is the longer it cooks it seems to just get better and better so if you can do this early in the day and let it simmer for an hour or so that would be great, but it is important to stir the pot maybe every 10 - 15 minutes to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom. When ready pour into bowls and add grated cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped onions and a squeeze of lime. Viola!

Now here are some variations you may want to do.

You can add green and/or red bell peppers to the onions

Add one or two roasted poblano chiles, chopped to the onions (add a little more spice and smokiness)

Substitute some of the pinto beans with Kidney beans

Before cooking the ground beef, use chorizo and cook it really well and then add the ground beef (just adds some more of that mexican spice)

Instead of flour, use Masa Harina (near the flour in the grocery store) It is what is used to make corn tortillas, so you add a little bit of the corn flavor.

Make a pot of macaroni noodles and toss together to make a Chili Mac dinner.

And last, if you really want to go decadent, instead of ground beef, use ribeye or filet mignon for the meat. Chop it into bite size pieces (it will shrink a bit in the cooking so not too little) and instead of tossing the flour in after adding the meat, toss the meat in the flour then add to the pan. You may need to add more oil to the pan before adding the meat if the onion mixture seems to dry. You just want to brown all the meat pieces you don't need to worry about cooking them thru cause they will cook in the pot with all the ingredients.

I wish I had a photo of the finished product to share, but honestly the taste is what matters the most!!! Enjoy!