Flexible Chili

By • September 2, 2011 • 0 Comments



Author Notes: I am a third generation Angeleno on both sides of my family, so spicy food was a fixture of my youth. When my husband and I moved to Europe a few years ago, we both lost our ability to handle spicy food (I suppose that's the trade-off for living in France and Denmark). However, this is one meal where we're willing to suffer the consequences! This is an incredibly flexible recipe for ground meat-based chili. Use beef or pork or a combination; use any colored bell peppers you have/like; use whatever beans you have on hand; control the level of heat with the amount of chili powder; add or subtract tomatoes based on how 'wet' you want the chili. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the spices or the cooking time.CarlaCooks

Serves 6-8

  • 100 grams chopped bacon (about 6 slices, chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 bell peppers (I usually use one yellow and one green), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder (or less, depending on the heat of your chili powder and your taste for heat)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (I like Hungarian paprika, but normal paprika does the trick as well)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 500 grams/1 pound ground meat (I usually use ground pork because the only thing cheaper than ground pork in Denmark is snow). You can increase the amount of meat to 750 grams/1 1/2 pounds if you so desire
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can (400 grams/15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (400 grams/15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (400 grams/15 oz.) navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (400 grams/15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed
  • 3 cans (400 grams/15 oz. each) chopped tomatoes
  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan, like a dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown. Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper and stir to coat everything with bacon fat at the spices. Cook on medium heat until vegetables start to soften, 5-7 minutes. Don’t worry about the spices sticking to the bottom of the pot… the liquid from the meat will help release everything from the pot.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the pot, pushing the vegetable mixture to the sides of the pan. Add the ground meat and brown the bottom. Then break up the meat with your wooden spoon, mix with the vegetable mixture, and cook until the meat is no longer brown.
  3. Once the meat is cooked through, add the wine. Turn the heat up to high and, scraping the bottom of the pot and stirring, reduce the liquid by half, about 10 minutes. (If you are making this ahead of time and want to use a crock pot, follow the above instructions up to this step. Then add the cooked meat and vegetable mixture to your crock pot along with the canned tomatoes and rinsed beans. Stir and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for at least 6 hours. Season to taste before serving)
  4. When the liquid has reduced, add all of the beans and canned tomatoes (with the tomato juice!). Stir to combine everything, lower the heat to low, partially cover, and cook for at least 90 minutes, though longer is better. After 90 minutes, taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve with crème fraiche, cheddar cheese, vinegar, and crusty bread on the side.
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Tags: beans, Beef, can be made ahead, chili, flexible, pork

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