Every cook has a special version of chili. Here’s mine — it’s meaty and nicely spiced with just the right amount of beans. Not everyone agrees that beans belong in a chili — witness the Texas version dubbed “bowl of red” — but I love the way the beans absorb the spices and rich tomato flavor.
Yield: Serves 8
1½ lbs (750 g) lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) chili powder
1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano leaves
1½ tsp (7 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes or to taste
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes, including juice, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) reduced-sodium beef broth
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) pinto or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, cook beef over medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for about 7 minutes or until no longer pink. Place in strainer and drain fat. Return beef to pan.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, garlic, celery, green pepper, chili powder, oregano, cumin and hot pepper flakes; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
3. Stir in tomatoes with juice and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
4. Add beans and parsley; cover and simmer for 10 minutes more.
The flavor of the chili hinges on the quality of chili powder used. Most powders are a blend of dried, ground mild chilies, as well as cumin, oregano, garlic and salt. Read the list of ingredients to be sure you’re not buying one with starch and sugar fillers. Chili powder should not be confused with powdered or ground chilies of the cayenne pepper variety.