I remember when I was a kid there was a huge joke that went around everywhere, popular with kids and adults alike (hey, it was a more innocent time then; or at least that’s what I tell myself to cover up for the fact that we were all way too easily amused back in the day). Someone would walk up to you and say something to the effect of “hey; have you heard the weather report?” When you said no, they would reply “It’s chili today and hot tamale!”. They would then proceed to laugh hysterically and wait for you to join in. Being the sophisticated intelligent
delusional child that I was, I would of course stick my nose in the air and reply with something pithy like “that’s so funny, I forgot to laugh” or the oldie but goodie that proved what a humor god you were, “last time I heard that one, I laughed so hard I fell off my dinosaur.” (No really… we did; Stegosaurus I think.). I was so ahead of my time when it came to witty comebacks. Still am… or something.
Bur regardless of my sparkling wit or lack thereof, I have been told I make one hell of a pot of chili. So that’s what you’re getting today; my chili recipe. I haven’t even given this to my grown kids yet. Well, I suppose I have now. There goes their inheritance. I planned this yesterday when it was rainy, cold and windy. So what happens? It’s 67 degrees out now. Go figure.
Four Bean Chili
- This sounds like a lot of ingredients but it goes together quickly and makes one huge pot of chili; about eight nice sized servings. It can be cut in half or doubled easily. This is a somewhat spicy chili though in its defense my kids eat it and haven’t started breathing fire yet. But if you are spice biased, feel free to omit the chopped jalapeno. Leave the Chipotle though; it adds flavor, not just heat.
- 3 pounds ground chuck
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 1/4 cups chopped mixed peppers (I use a combo of red, green, orange and yellow. You can use your favorites)
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, finely minced
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (I used the kind from a jar; so shoot me.)
- 2 15.5 ounce cans kidney beans
- 2 15.25 ounce cans black beans
- 1 15.5 ounce can pinto beans
- 1 15.5 ounce can chili beans (I vary spice level depending on mood; today’s was “medium”)
- 1 14.5 ounce can chili style diced tomatoes (I use Del Monte or Hunts)
- 1 10 ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro or the kind with green chiles (if they don’t have that in your area, just use another can of any style diced tomatoes you like.)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup chili powder (yes; half a cup)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder (I use McCormicks brand)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot hot sauce
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (you can sub 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste ( I actually rarely use salt in it because the spices and canned products add enough salty flavor)
Garnishes- cheddar or jack cheese, red or green onions, finely chopped cilantro, sour cream.
- Chop up your celery, onions and all the various peppers. Mix them with the ground chuck in a large (preferably heavy bottomed) pot. Over medium high heat (on my electric stove, I have it at about 7) cook until the beef is browned and the veggies have begun to soften, stirring frequently. Drain well and put back into the pot.
- Add the rest of your ingredients except for the vinegar and the garnishes. Mix well and put your heat on medium. I start out at about 5 (stirring frequently) until it comes to a simmer then I turn it down to 3. You need to watch it carefully and stir often or it will stick to the bottom of your pot.
- See how easy this was so far? Now just bring it up to to a simmer, turn your heat down to medium low and let it cook. It can be eaten in about an hour if you prefer your chili soupier but we like it thicker and more stew like so mine simmers for about 3 hours. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, add the vinegar, stir it thoroughly then give it a taste. If it needs more of something, add it now. Too tart? Add a touch more brown sugar. Too sweet? Add some salt and maybe some more chili powder. Too spicy? Send it to me.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with tons of garnishes. My favorites are a lot of cheese, either green or red onions, some sour cream and a bit of cilantro. We serve this with either cornbread, tortillas or the yummy and typical saltine crackers.