Did you know that February 27 is National Chili Day?
I’m trying to recall if there’s one of these national food days that I’ve actually made something to celebrate it on its specific day. I can’t think of a single one, at least not something I did on purpose.
What’s most amazing to me about these food holidays is not that we actually have them (and have them every single day of the year), it’s that they really are national, signed into being by none other than The President himself.
If I were a person that kept to these days, I’d be sharing the recipe I’ve come up with for a Thin Mint Milkshake (yes, it’s coming) because today is National Chocolate Mint Day.
But I’m not that person. So, we’re having chili instead. Well before National Chili Day.
If you have the February/March issue of Fine Cooking, you’ll want to turn to pages 40-45 to get an idea of what I did. This little gem is from the ‘Create Your Own Recipe’ section. I can actually say that the recipe is mine, with guidance.
While there are ingredients that were set in stone, like onion, garlic, and chili powder, most were chosen by me, like the ground beef, bell pepper, cinnamon and fresh thyme. Fine Cooking gave me a list, I decided what I wanted to use from it.
This is not not a quick and simple dish. Really, really good chili takes time. The recipe I’m sharing is the one I came up with. I looked for the chili recipe-maker on Fine Cooking’s site but it’s not there yet. Once they add it, I’ll link to it.
Love. All three of us felt that way. Hubby made himself sick on it because he couldn’t stop going back for more. Dudette just about did the same thing. She had two servings. I could have eaten lots and lots as well, but knowing what chili does to me, I restrained myself.
The meal was delicious. Everything worked together perfectly to create a bowl of powerful, tasty flavor. I’m so glad I kept track of what I used so I can make this again. Well, unless I try something else.
What I Did Differently
I added 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, which wasn’t anywhere in the magazine. I like my chili to have just a hint of sweetness.
- 4½ tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
- 2 pounds ground beef
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 2-4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 cup fresh green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo chile powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- ¾ cup beer, preferably lager
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 1 14-ounce can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 14-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Sour cream, grated Cheddar and diced avocado for garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-duty 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season the meat with 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Cook half of the meat, undisturbed, until browned, 2-3 minutes. Flip or break up, and cook, stirring or turning occasionally, until well-browned, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and brown the remaining meat. Transfer to the plate along with any liquid from the pot.
- Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pot. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, chile powder, cinnamon, and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant; 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the beer, turn the heat up to high and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down to medium low. Purée 1½ cups of the beans in a blender or food processor, adding a little stewing liquid as needed, and then stir the puréed beans into the stewing liquid in the pot. Add the remaining whole beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the ground beef to the pot, then cook for an additional 30 minutes. If the chili gets too thick, thin it with a little more beef broth.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish chili and serve.
It’s funny how the weather has continued to nudge me towards these stews, soups and chilis. It was cold and snowy for so long, but today the temperatures will reach near 70. Of course, to counter that, we have monsoon-level rain falling. Looking outside makes me want to wrap myself up in an afghan and have a bowl of chili. Come to think of it, I just might do that.