Monday, February 23, 2015

Chili is February Food

Who's tired of winter?  I am!  However, I would take one big snowfall to get us through until spring.  What's the point of winter in Minnesota without enough snow to sled and ski?  Anyway...back to the food. 

I've tried SO many chili recipes but I have yet to settle on a favorite one...until now?  My son requested "Rabbit Stew" for his Minecraft birthday dinner.  While it would have been a cheap option, with all our wild urban rabbits, we decided to make beef chili and call it rabbit stew.  I decided to browse Smitten Kitchen (not to be mistaken with Smitten Kitten, right?!), one of my favorite blogs, for chili ideas and settled on her "Beef Chili" recipe. 

For the Minecraft party, we served the stew (aka chili) over baked potatoes - everything has to be Minecraft related, you know.  Tonight, we served leftovers from the freezer with some homemade corn bread (from Weekend Baker - one of my favorite books).  Smitten Kitchen serves her chili over biscuits - now that's a good idea.

It's February.  Make a big pot of chili and hunker down.

Beef Chili
adapted from Smitten Kitchen which she adapted from Gourmet
Serves 6+

2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots (I diced these, I think sliced would be weird)
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, ground coarse or 3 pounds ground beef (I used two pounds ground)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce 1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups or 1 19-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used two)
2 green bell peppers, chopped (I omitted, not a big fan of green peppers)
Toppings: red onion, sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, you name it.

In a large pot (large!), heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth and vinegar and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes (if you used ground beef) or 50 to 60 minutes (if you used coarse chuck). Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve ladled over biscuits, baked potatoes, or in a bowl with corn bread on the side.