Friday, November 4, 2011

chili (with beans)

Only somewhat recently did I discover that there is a controversy over what constitutes chili.  I was raised up on one kind:  tomato-based with ground beef and kidney beans.  When I went to work at camp in Tennessee, I first met people from Texas.  Their idea of chili was about as far off from mine as you could imagine.  They insisted that it needed to be discrete chunks of meat, and no beans.  I thought theirs was more like a steak soup - delicious in its own right, but not chili. 

Wednesday evening was cold, windy, and rainy.  I mentally scanned through the list of recipes that I go to in a pinch:  tacos, pasta, stirfry?  None seemed right.  Then my mind drifted to a steamy bowl of chili and cornbread.  Perfect!

Jeff and I have made a serious commitment to cooking more at home.  We had gotten so lazy, and picking things up or eating out seems so easy.  But, my waistline has stopped shrinking since my initial pound sheddage after the baby's birth, and we spent $646 (I'm not joking) on eating out last month.  That's right.  A family of two.  Six hundred forty-six dollars.  So, cooking has to become a priority once again. 

I whipped this up after putting the baby to sleep on Wednesday night, and we ate cheaply and nutritiously.  And I had leftovers last night.  A win-win.  The apple cider vinegar gives it a perfect little tang in the background.  If you're wary about canned foods (and I'm really trying to reduce our reliance on them, since many contain BPA as a can liner), just use a scant two cups peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes and two cups of soaked and rinsed dry kidney beans.

1 lb ground beef (use whatever lean/fat percentage you like, but you may have to skim the fat a little if you use chuck; we used 93/7)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
scant 2 C chicken or beef broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (low- or no-salt)
1/3 C chili powder
2 t cumin
1 16 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T apple cider vinegar
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Skim off some fat if there seems to be too much.  Add the onion and saute until it is clear and soft (about ten minutes).  Drop in the garlic and saute for a minute or so.  Add the broth and use a spoon or whisk to scrape up all the brown stuff on the bottom of the pot.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin.  Bring to a boil, then drop back to a simmer.  Simmer for ten minutes, then add beans, vinegar, and salt to taste.  Let it simmer until you're ready to eat.  The longer it cooks, the more the flavors come together.  Serve with sour cream and cheddar as toppings.  Serves four.

We also ate this with cornbread made from the recipe on the cornmeal container.

No comments: