Tag Archives: recipes

30-inches chili

We are right at the start of a snowstorm that’s meant to last till Sunday morning and potentially dump 30 inches of snow all over us. So of course, that meant chili for dinner.

Apparently, unless my search function is useless (always possible), I’ve never posted my chili recipe, and since it’s mostly mine and nobody else’s, I have no compunction about giving it to you. The secret is to use more than one sort of chili – a fresh one, dried chili powder, and the sort that comes in a can of chili beans. Then I usually add one or two others, just for kicks.

1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 lb ground beef (that’s mince, if you’re Irish)
chili powder, to taste, maybe 1 teaspoon
cumin, a little less than however much chili powder you used
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (or a good shake, you know)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (puree)
1 tin of beans in chili sauce (I like the medium)
1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin crushed or fire roasted tomatoes, or one tin of each. If you have a tin of tomatoes with zesty jalapeños already in there, use that.
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 a bottle of beer, whatever you have to hand (or just 6oz water if you don’t have any beer)

I also added eggplant (aubergine), because it was in the fridge, and a little chipotle chili in adobo because I had it in the freezer (see my reply to the first comment if you’re wondering what that is). You don’t need these, though the chipotle is a nice addition. Sometimes I use a spoonful of salsa instead.

Chop the onion and the red pepper. Chop the jalapeño or serrano pepper and remove the insides if you’re a wuss about spiciness like I am. Otherwise leave them in. Mince the garlic.
Heat some oil (olive, sunflower, whatever) in a huge pan and cook all the vegetables until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Take all this nice soft vegetable mix out of the pan and put it to one side in a bowl for a few minutes while you do the meat.

Put a little more oil in the pan and add the meat, breaking it up with a fork so it cooks evenly. Sprinkle over the chili powder, cumin, splash of worcestershire sauce, and squeeze of tomato paste. Stir the meat every now and then until it’s mostly cooked.

Tip your vegetables back in, open the cans of beans and tomatoes, and add everything to the mix, stirring well. (This is my favourite part.) You can use whatever beans you like, and one or two tins depending on how beany you like your chili.

Add the sugar and the beer or water, stir well, and let simmer over a low heat for as long as you can (an hour is good). When the liquid has reduced a bit, put the lid on so it doesn’t dry out. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or sugar if you think it needs it; but give it some time for the flavours to meld first – there’s no point tasting it straight away.

Serve with rice, tortilla chips, grated cheese, sour cream, or whatever you like. Leftovers are even better the next day and it freezes perfectly.

This would work fine as a meatless chili too; just up the bean quotient.

Two children on a sled in very shallow snow.

The beginning. (That sled is not moving at all.)