By BOB ZIMORINO
There is chili and then there is chili. It is one of those dishes that almost anyone that cooks probably has a version of. I have seen it made with beef (both cubed and ground), chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp and lobster, meatless, with beans, no beans, black beans, red beans and white beans, green and red chilies…the list is endless.
This is a ground beef chili. I like it because when I make it, I triple this recipe and can do it in about an hour.
Here are my notes on why I do this dish this way:
I love black beans and they have more fiber than most other beans so they are my choice. That being said, pick whatever beans you like the best or mix them. I do not have the time or energy to wash and cook beans so I buy organic canned beans.
One of the great things about cooking is the ability to personalize your dishes.
Make some personal choices from some of the other options seen above, however, with stew meat and some cuts of pork you have to braise the meat until tender, before making the chili. (cook in a little bit of water or even some of the juice from the crushed tomatoes, the acid in the tomatoes will help tenderize the meat).
Peppers are one of my favorite foods on earth. For this dish I use three varieties, all fresh. Poblanos and Anaheims are similar in heat, about a 3 on a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being the hottest, but are different in color and flavor. I find Anaheims to be a little sweeter. Together they add wonderful flavor and color. I use Jalapenos for heat but also for flavor. They are somewhere between 5 and 6 on the 1 – 10 heat scale. You can always add more heat to a dish and any number of other peppers that will do the trick but I like to add heat according to season and how I feel on a given day.
What is up with the corn and carrots…both popular foods in Mexico. I like to add them to make the dish a complete meal. In addition, to the added nutritional value, there is the addition of color and some of my favorite flavors.
A couple of things that I would like to point out…
- Until you add cheese and a flour tortilla, this dish is gluten and dairy free
- I really don’t measure anything unless I am baking, and then only sometimes. I think the seasonings that I listed below are pretty accurate but don’t be afraid to test it as you go and adjust to your own taste buds.
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 can of black beans
- 2 poblano peppers (chopped)
- 2 Anaheim chiles (chopped)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 ½ tblsp. garlic (minced)
- 2 serano or jalapeno peppers (chopped fine) (optional)
- 1 bag of frozen corn
- 5 fresh carrots (chopped)
- 2 tblsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1.5 tblsp. chili powder.
Saute: Ground beef, onions and peppers until the beef is browned. Add the seranos and the garlic and allow to cook into the beef and veggies for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add crushed tomatoes and 1 can of water and bring to a boil (more water if you like a thinner sauce. Add beans and let simmer on medium heat. Add corn after 5 minutes. Add the seasonings.
- 1 lb. of cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 bunch green onions (scallions) (chopped)
- Sour Cream
Serve with green onions, shredded cheddar, corn or flour tortillas and/or sour cream
Bob Zimorino is a full-time real estate agent with Lambros/ERA Real Estate, a retired Certified Executive Chef, a musician with the popular local bands The Levitators and Spinal Pizza, a dad, and a grandpa. He shares the experiences from his life that helped shape his careers and hobbies. His weekly “Taste It” blog is his take on the evolution of food in his lifetime.