Monday, November 22, 2010

Beef and Two Bean Chili

My husband has recently decided that he likes chili. A lot. All his life he's been a pretty picky eater but that's mostly been by choice. Because I love food and think that it's fun to experiment and try new things I've always encouraged him to be open-minded about food. At first, he resisted and hated trying new things, convinced that the reason he didn't like something was because he actually didn't like it, rather than he had just never tried it. Over time, he quit fighting me and started willing trying new things because he'd been able to find so many new foods that he really loved. We've been together since high school and I can't tell you how many things he has tried and fell in love with. Chinese food. Mexican food. Sushi. And, lately? Chili.

So he's been asking for me to make some kind of soup or chili for weeks now but it's just been too hot for me to think chili sounded good. Plus I hadn't found "the recipe." Over the last couple weeks here in Florida the weather has cooled off significantly (as in, it goes into the 60s on occasion) and I started thinking in earnest about trying my hand at chili. But I still couldn't find a recipe that spoke to me. So I took the things I liked about a few different recipes and adapted them to a recipe that suited our tastes.

Success!! I served this with cheese and sour cream for a garnish and biscuits as a side. Brad loved it and gushed all night long about how great it was! I really loved it too! Plus, it's a one-pot meal (read: easy clean-up) and makes a ton, which will probably serve us for a few more dinners and lunches. (I really love leftovers. Home-cooked meal without the work? Yes, please!) I subbed in green pepper for the more traditional celery (since neither of us are big celery fans) and the onion, garlic and green pepper made for a great vegetable flavor combo. The spices worked great together and the cornmeal gave the chili a great thickness without sopping up all the juices. One bowl is very filling and satisfying on a chili (pun intended) fall night. So here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Beef and Two Bean Chili
(Original recipe by Layne)

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 16-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups beef stock
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
¼ cup cornmeal

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, saute chopped onion, garlic and green pepper until soft. Crumble in ground beef and cook until brown. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, beans, spices and cornmeal to the stockpot and stir together. Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring frequently. Serve with cheese and sour cream.

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