Soups & Stews

Simple Beef Chili with Kidney BeansTom & Kari

Noreen introduced me to a magazine called Cook's Illustrated I have become hooked on it. The recipes are great, and it makes for interesting reading. They treat cooking as a science, breaking it all down.
I made a few changes, just for our personal taste. I use fire-roasted diced tomatoes, chipotle pepper flakes for the red pepper flakes, and ground chipotle peppers for the cayenne pepper. Tom thinks this might even be better than the Tampa-Style Black Bean Chili!

2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
2 16-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 28-ounce can tomato puree
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2-teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt.
Serve with lime wedges and condiments*.

*Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese.

If you are a fan of spicy food, consider using a little more of the red pepper flakes or cayenne- or both! The flavor of the chili improves with age; if possible, make it a day or up to five days in advance and reheat before serving. Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month.

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