Friday, March 6, 2009

Classic Chili Dinner

After watching an episode of Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" I got inspired to make a good, classic bowl of chili. I'd never made chili before. I think most of my past experiences with chili have been rather boring. But if I made it myself, with ingredients I liked, maybe I'd have a new easy dinner dish on hand.

So I gave it try. I researched dozens of recipes. There are endless recipes for chili online and just as many different ingredients. Finding a basic bean & beef chili with peppers and onions in a tomato sauce was harder to find than I expected. Below is the result of my mixing and matching recipes using ingredients that sounded good to me. My husband and I really enjoyed the chili and it was even better left over. Just mix up a package of cornbread or my favorite homemade cornbread recipe and you're set!

Classic Chili
  • 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Anaheim chili pepper, diced
  • 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1-16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2-15 oz. can chili beans (seasoned pinto beans)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste*
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon chili powder (depends on how spicy you want it)**
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-12 oz. bottle of dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon corn meal
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For serving:

  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Chopped green onions

In a large pot, saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chili pepper and saute one minute longer. Remove mixture from pan and set aside. Add ground meat to pot and cook until browned. Add onion and pepper mixture back with meat. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and their juice, tomato paste, spices and beer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Salt to taste. Stir in cornmeal and cook 5 minutes longer. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onions.

Tip: I freeze tomato paste in 1 tablespoon sizes to keep on hand for recipes like this. That way I don't waste an entire can of tomato paste to use just 1 tablespoon. You'll find many recipes just call for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste as it adds a rich, sweet flavor to many tomato sauce based dishes.

Spice it up: If you like spicy chili add more chili powder or add 1 diced jalepeno pepper to the onion/pepper mixture.


Suzy said...

good tip about freezing the tomato paste.. but (and this might be a dumb question) what do you freeze it in?

Melissa said...

That's a good question! I just wrap up a tbsp size in a strip of plastic wrap and roll it tight. I've read other suggestions to freeze portions in an ice cube tray but that sounds really messy to me.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Melissa for making this after Benjamin was born! It was the tastiest meal ever. Mmmmm....I can't wait to try and make it.

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