When it’s chilly outside, I always crave a nice bowl of homemade chili to warm me up. I decided to pull out one of my favorites the other night for dinner. While my first few chili attempts were edible, they didn’t have a whole lot flavor other than chili powder. Then my office had a chili cook-off a few years ago and my team and I decided to come up with something different to go along with our theme of the Spice Girls. This is what we came up with.
This chili’s hook is definitely plenty of peppers, so if you don’t like spicy food, you might want to try a different recipe. On the other hand, you can also tweak the basic recipe to satisfy your personal taste. Enjoy!
Prep Time: about 45 minutes, but you can cut that down a lot if you have a partner to help.
Cook Time: half an hour to several hours (it tastes great if you can let it simmer for an hour or so).
- 4 lb. chuck roast, cubed. (I like to make them fairly bit-sized so it’s easier eat)
- 2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 diced yellow onion
- 5-6 peppers, various types, mild to hot (I put in a few bell peppers as well as hot. If you like it less spicy, go for the bell peppers. Under no circumstances do I recommend habanero!)
- 3 15-oz cans tomato sauce
- 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes with jalapeno (if you don’t have jalapeno tomatoes, just make sure you add actual jalapenos to the chili)
- 3 T chili powder
- 1 T oregano
- Garlic, if desired
- Olive oil
First cube and brown the meat in a little olive oil. I always add a little minced garlic at to it while it’s cooking, but it’s not necessary if garlic’s not your thing (though I don’t know why it wouldn’t be!). While the meat is browning, dice the onion. Add the onion to the meat until cooked. While it’s cooking, you should have something that looks like this:
When the beef and onions are fully cooked, add them to the pot. I don’t usually drain the meat since I only use a little bit of oil to cook it. Stir and let simmer on low uncovered while you do your magic on the peppers. Try to select a good variety for your chili, from red cherry to Hungarian wax to mild bell peppers. Anything will do, but I don’t advise any of the seriously hot peppers, unless you want a serious stomach ache.
Note: Peppers, like onions, can be a major pain to my eyeballs. The really spicy ones actually make me tear up and cough, and don’t even ask me what havoc they will wreak on a paper cut. If you are sensitive, do yourself a favor and either get someone else to cut them or wear gloves to protect any cuts on your hands. Cut them with a sharp knife. You can also try to keep the peppers wet or cut them in the sink with the water running. It sounds weird, but putting a piece of bread in my mouth also seems to help when I am slicing onions.
Anyway, I don’t like seeds in my chili (and the seeds are the hottest part), so I clean them all out like this:
Do this to the remaining peppers and then dice or mince, depending on how chunky you want your chili. I like to make sure I don’t get a mouthful of peppers when I eat my chili, so after dicing them I go over the whole pile a few times with the knife to make sure there aren’t any large chunks. You should have what looks like this:
Add the peppers to the beef and tomato mixture. Then add the rest of the ingredients (beans, chili powder, oregano). Continue to heat on medium heat until boiling. At this point you can eat the chili if you are in a hurry. I prefer to let it simmer and sample generously instead. Whatever floats your boat.
This is what it should look like:
If you have the time to let it cook like a real chili should, reduce the heat and let it simmer for another hour or so. If you want to beef–er–noodle it up even more, pour some over pasta. I prefer ditalini.