One of my favorite autumn things is chili. In the summer it’s too hot to make or eat chili. Who wants to sit down with a bowl of steaming hot food when it’s 90 degrees out? Not me, that’s for sure. But at the first hint of that crisp fall air, I have to make chili. It’s the quintessential Sunday afternoon football meal in our house – chili, cheese, and a loaf of crusty sourdough bread.
For years I flailed around with various recipes and then … and then I got married. And my mother-in-law delivered into my hands the king of chili recipes. It’s easily the best chili I’ve ever tasted. Don’t take my word for it, though. It’s fall. There’s football. Make a big batch and then you can tell me I’m right!
Here’s my mise en place. I left out two crucial ingredients in this tableaux – the garlic and the vinegar. I’ll remember next time.
Put the hamburger and turkey into a large pot and begin browning it. (I have to say that there is no way to photograph browning hamburger meat and make it look appetizing. Sorry!)
While the meat is browning, chop your onion (I like mine somewhat chunky) and your garlic. (That flowered cup in the garlic photo? It’s from my mother’s original china set when she got married to my dad in 1965. It’s the only piece left and I’ve always used it to hold my garlic.)
Once the meat is browned, kind of push it off to the side of the pan and add the onion and garlic and let it sizzle away. You want the onion to become translucent before you continue on.
In the meanwhile, get your water ready and open your can of tomato paste (this is a double batch of chili, so 2 cans of paste for me). A little trick here – the easiest way to dispense tomato paste from a can is to open both ends and then use the lid to push the paste right through the can.
Add the water and all the spices and flavorings. I love adding the chili powder at the very end and watching that gorgeous deep red color appear.
Put your peppers, bay leaf, and allspice in a big spice ball. We have one that we use just for chili, soups, and stews. It makes it so easy to retrieve the spices later and no one ever has to bite into that bay leaf again. Drop that spice ball right into the chili. See how it has the nifty little chain that allows you to attach it to the side of the pot? Easy removal later.
Simmer the chili for at least 2 hours, and remove the spice ball. Then simmer for however much longer you want. The longer you simmer, the more tender the meat will be, and the better the flavor. I like to start my chili after lunch and let it simmer all afternoon.
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve the chili, rinse the beans well . Then add them to the pot.
This recipe has been doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled and works great. When you double it or more, the beans don’t double exactly. Instead add 1 can of beans per pound of meat … plus one can of beans for the pot.
This is also great the next day (or the day after) and can be frozen (w/out the beans) and reheated for yummy quick dinners or lunches.
I don’t remember the calorie counts for this one, but I seem to recall it’s around 180 cals per bowl (1.5 cup serving). It’s extremely filling, too, so a single bowl goes a long way. This is our favorite Sunday meal during football season – and then makes a great lunch the next day.