It's that time of year when the nights turn colder and the smell of burning leaves enhances the crisp, Fall air. I start craving my favorite Fall foods, dishes that call for apples and squash, hearty stews and comfort foods. And of course, chili. There are many schools of thought when it comes to chili. For some, the spicier the better. Some like it thick. Some love the beans. And there is a whole group of people that love their Chili Mac. I am not from this planet. To me, macaroni is the quickest way to ruin a bowl of chili. If I wanted goulash, I'd have made goulash. I want chili, darn it! Wow! Glad I got that off of my chest. However, I recognize that the perfect bowl of chili is different for each and every one of us. Here I am providing my basic chili recipe. It’s not terribly spicy, with a hint of sweet. Tame enough for a toddler, yet flavorful enough to be a crowd pleaser. Sometimes I mix it up a little and experiment, but mostly it stays the same. Before now I have never written it down. It's just in my head and I dump and adjust to taste. So here goes......
The building blocks:
2 lbs. Ground beef
1 onion, chopped (medium-large)
salt and pepper
In a skillet, brown beef and onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Drain. Place in stock pot.
80 oz. of tomato juice or 1 ½ large cans
29 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2- 15.5 oz. cans of kidney beans
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. chili powder
Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.
Like I said, this is pretty basic. I do some tasting and I tweak by adding a little more salt, chili powder, or whatever it needs. Sometimes I fire it up a little and throw in some green chilis or hot pepper sauce. I’ve also used spicy chili beans. Sometimes I use half tomato juice and half V-8. In my opinion, chili is good the first day, but even better reheated.
My perfect bowl of chili is topped with a little shredded cheddar or American cheese, Fritos, and a dollop of sour cream. No Fritos in our house right now so I just used plain ol' corn chips.
This recipe makes enough for me to freeze half, serve the other half for dinner, put the leftovers in the fridge and still have enough for both my husband and I to have chili for lunch twice.
Ready for the freezer:
I prefer to use quart size freezer containers, but I was out, and this gallon freezer bag worked just as well.
Enjoy the chili!