Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Pt. 3 Game night chili

I make several versions of chili, depending on my mood and what ingredients I have on hand.  Here's a classic version that can be spiced up or cooled down.  Serves 4-6, so adjust amounts accordingly if cooking for a crowd.

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 28oz cans of diced or whole tomatoes
2 red peppers and 2 orange peppers, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 19oz can kidney beans or black beans
1 19 oz can chick peas (optional)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup ketchup or sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or red wine
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (optional)

Toppings:
shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
sour cream
chopped parley or cilantro
chopped green onion
crumbled tortilla chips
chopped jalapeño peppers
hot sauce for those who like it spicy!

Directions:
1- In a large soup pot pour enough olive oil to lightly coat bottom.  Over medium heat add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Pour in balsamic vinegar or wine, and add cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat.  The balsamic/wine helps to give a deeper flavour but also gives the beef a nice deep colour.
2- Add ground beef and increase heat.  Stir to coat and cook through.
3- Add vegetables, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, covered with a lid positioned to let some steam escape.  Let cook for at least 1 hour.  The longer the better.  Add some broth or water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
4- About 20 minutes before serving, add beans and jalapeño if using.  Adjust seasonings and let simmer until ready to serve.

This chili can be eaten alone, over rice or pasta.  Serve over tortilla chips for nachos, or with some cornbread on the side.  If serving a crowd, place pot in centre of table with toppings in small bowls beside it.  I like to make it fairly mild and then allow everyone to adjust the level of spiciness with the toppings.

For a Super Bowl feast, just add snacks and beverages and no one will be going home hungry!

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