Michael's Weekend Chili

My mom taught me how to make chili. Over the years, I've made a few minor tweaks to her simple recipe. The great thing about chili is that with tomatoes, beans, onions, garlic, and some spices you start with a tasty and inexpensive "base" that you can play around with to make the chili your own. For example, if you like green bell peppers, add green peppers with the onions. One thing I really like to do when I'm making this chili on the weekend and I have beer in my hand is to add maybe a quarter of the bottle into the chili. I don't know if you can tell the difference between chili with beer and chili without beer, but it's a fun thing to add in any event, watching the carbonation in the beer ignite when it mixes with the chili. I like my chili to be on the thicker side, but still have a tomato flavor. I like a chunky texture where the beans and tomatoes are discernible.

If you've ever been to a chili cook-off, you know that every chili recipe is a little different. Some people like to add bacon, pork belly or sausage. I've also tasted chili with grains such as barley or wheat berries. Ashley has made a vegetarian lentil chili. 

The real key to enjoying chili (aside from using ingredient you like and giving the flavors time to meld)  are the toppings you add when you serve the chili. Our favorite toppings are sour cream (you can use Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative), fresh herbs that you have on hand such as cilantro, parsley and/or chives and shredded cheddar cheese.

Servings: 6 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 (12 ounce) can IPA beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, no salt added
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup low fat Greek yogurt

Method

  1. Heat a large stock pot (for soup), over medium heat and add the ground beef, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Before the meat is cooked and some of the fat has released, add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, stirring  occasionally, until the onions start to soften and the meat browns. Add the minced garlic, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. 
  2. Add both types of tomatoes, beans, water, beer, chili powder, ancho chili powder,cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt. Break apart whole tomatoes using the side of the pot the wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and allow to continue simmering for 25 minutes. 
  3. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with cilantro, green onion, cheddar cheese and sour cream. 

Intro and Recipe by: Michael Van Cise