Courtney’s Beef & Bean Chili

November 6, 2011

Courtney's Beef & Bean Chili

It’s funny how winter weather just creeps up on you. Here the weather has been staggering between cool, autumn days and sunny, early-summer-like days. Then all of the sudden, yesterday morning, with no warning, I wake up and the house is 63 degrees inside. Brrr! Needless to say, I quickly turned on the heater and downed a cup of cappuccino, attempting to warm myself up.

I’d picked up plenty of food to cook for the weekend, but suddenly spaghetti squash with sea scallops and angel hair pasta with passata didn’t sound so appetizing. I wanted some stick-to-your-ribs, warm-you-to-the-bone fare. I wanted chili.

When I think of chili, the first thing that comes to mind is this variation. Ground beef, kidney beans, and heat, heat, heat. I’ve made all kinds of chili, from a good bowl of red, to white with chicken, to vegetarian, but this is my favorite.

If you don’t have tomatoes with green chiles, use an extra can of regular diced or chopped tomatoes. If you only have one can of kidney beans, then just use those. This recipe is easily adaptable and very forgiving of a missed or changed ingredient here or there. In fact, that’s how the recipe has evolved into what you see. When I’ve been missing one thing, I’ve added another, and eventually, I came to love this ratio as a starting point.

Courtney’s Beef & Bean Chili
Serves 6
2 – 4 dried New Mexico chiles, seeded and soaked in 4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (90% lean or more)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, diced
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cans red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cans tomatoes with green chile
1 bottle beer (12 oz)
Garnishes: Cheese, chopped onion, chopped pepper, hot sauce, tortilla chips

Boil water and soak New Mexico chiles. Set aside until needed.

Place a stock pot over medium heat and begin sweating onions and jalapeno. After a few minutes, add the ground beef, and stir around to break up the beef. Continue cooking until onions are soft and beef is browned.

Mix together the dry ingredients, from chili powder through cayenne pepper. Add to the beef mixture, and stir to coat the mixture with the spice mix, cooking the spices a bit, for about one minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Turn back down to medium to keep at a rapid simmer/low boil, and cook for about 30 minutes, until flavors have combined, stirring occasionally.

Serve with garnishes.

Gluten free alternative: Use a gluten free beer, such as Estrella Damm Daura, and replace the 1 tablespoon of flour with cornstarch.

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