When the weather starts to get cold, I start to crave warm, comforting soups and stews. One of my favorite one-pot wonders (and easiest to make) is chili. I don’t have an exact recipe, and I always change one or two things every time I make it (such as by adding different kinds of beans/veggies, various amounts of spices, etc.), but one thing is always the same: I always get told I make the best chili ever! Here’s how I typically make it, but don’t feel like you have to follow it exactly — feel free to get creative — I’m sure it will taste just as good! Oh, and serve it up with cheddar cheese, a dollop of Greek yogurt and a side of cornbread, and you just can’t go wrong.
1 large yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery
1 small can tomato paste
1 lb ground beef
4 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I use a mixture of kidney, black and cannellini beans)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
Start by dicing the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Heat up oil in a large pot on medium heat, and simmer the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the veggies are tender (but not mushy). Season with salt and pepper.
Add a small can of tomato paste to the pot, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Next, add 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey), and cook until the beef is cooked through. Season with more salt and pepper.
Once the meat and veggies are cooked, mix in all of the beans.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and chicken stock until you reach your desired consistency. (I typically use all crushed tomatoes and no chicken stock, but I think the stock adds a little more flavor.)
Here is when you want to add all of your spices and seasonings. To mine, I add bay leaves, chili powder, smoked paprika, crushed red chili flakes, dried oregano, nutmeg, sriracha, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, and salt and pepper. I think this is the most fun part of making chili — adding the spices, tasting, and adding more until it’s perfection!
When you’re happy with the flavor of your chili, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with a nice corner-piece of cornbread, and that has comfort food written all over it.