When I was growing up, as a lunchtime treat my mother would sometimes open canned Hormel Chilli, always with beans. So that was my baseline for what chilli should be. I remember the first time I had chilli in a restaurant with a dollop of sour cream in the middle. I was unsure why, then I tasted it, and realized how the cream offset the spice. Then it was shredded cheese. The saltier and crumblier of the cheese the better.
Home made chilli is not complicated. It can be fairly fast, though it is often better after a long simmer, or even refrigerated overnight and reheated.
I am an omnivore, so my chilli is meat based.
What you need:
- One or two yellow onions, medium to fine chop
- Optional:Celery, carrots, mushrooms, sweet and hot peppers, chopped.
- 1 pound (about 500 grams) ground beef
- 1-2 pounds beef - stew beef, eye-round, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 - 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 - 14-16 ounce cans red-chilli beans (or mix it up with black-beans, great-northern beans, whatever you like.
- 1 14-16 ounce can or box of crushed or chopped tomatoes, or one small can tomato paste.
- Optional, asian garlic chilli paste, sriracha, or tabasco
In a large pot, saute the onions in a little oil (I use olive oil for almost all cooking) until softened and starting to color.
Add the optional veggies - an opportunity to use up what is on hand.
When the veggies have softened,
Add the beef. If you are using ground beef, continue to break it down as it cooks until you have the desired texture for the finished dish.
- If you are using cubed beef, allow it to brown,
Add the beans and tomato (I have used chopped fresh tomatoes when I had them on hand.)
You may need to add moisture, chicken or beef stock, red wine, or water will work.
Allow to simmer.
If you are using ground beef, the dish can be ready to eat in 30-45 minutes. It will get better after a slow simmer, but is just fine as a quick dinner.
If you are using cubed beef, the chilli should should simmer, covered on low heat for 3 to 7 hours. I know that is a lot of time difference, it depends on how tough the beef is, and how tender you want it. You can make really tough (cheap) beef tender by slow cooking it for hours. A few weeks ago I bought a whole "eye-round" of beef. It was like 7 pounds (about 3 kilos) for something like $35 on sale. It turned out to be tough. I made slow cooked chilli with the last couple of pounds of it recently and it turned out spectacular, it simmered for 7 hours.
You could do this in a slow cooker or crock pot. I have never used one, I feel unsafe leaving something cooking overnight, or when I am not home (and until this last year, I was seldom if ever home all day.)
How spicy do you like it?