The Big Chill(i)

chili con carne - 1

Well, podner, it’s time to talk chili! Not that stuff made with ground meat…no sirree! Cookie here wants good ol’ fashioned hunks of good meat!

OK….well, maybe chicken….and if you’re in a hurry, I guess ground meat will just have to fill the bill! But if you want to save some $$$, get some stew meat or a chuck or pot roast, trim away the fat, cut it up into cubes and get to chili-makin’.

These cuts of meat are much less expensive than steaks and are full of flavor but they need long, slow cooking so they become tender. Cutting the meat AGAINST the grain helps tenderizing, too. If you cut the meat into smaller cubes (maybe 1 to 1-1/4″ square cubes) it will be perfect! The meat flavor and the spices will blend beautifully – the house will smell great and if you bake some cornbread with it, everyone will be at the table ready to eat before you even call them!

If you use ground beef, ground turkey or cubed chicken, reduce the cooking time to about 30 minutes instead of the 1-1/2 hours for the beef cubes. Why not double the recipe and make a BIG pot … it tastes better reheated so pack up some and freeze it for another meal! Cooking time is about the same and you’ve saved time, too!

The Big Chili

  • 1-1/2 lbs. stewing beef, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 c red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 c green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 c red onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-1/2 c beef broth (low sodium is OK)
  • 1-1/2 c salsa (your favorite)
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed *
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans drained & rinsed *
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Spray a large soup pot with non-stick spray and add beef cubes, a few at a time. Brown meat on all sides on high heat, adding more as first ones brown. When all are browned all over, add peppers, onion and garlic and reduce heat to medium. Stir and cook for about 5  minutes until vegetables start to soften.

Add broth, salsa and tomatoes. In small dish combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander and black pepper. Stir to blend, then add to broth and meat., stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and allow to simmer for about 1-1/2 hours stirring occasionally.

Add drained beans and simmer additional 15 minutes. remove from heat. Stir in fresh cilantro, lime juice and honey.

Serve hot.

*Note: If you want the chili thicker and the extra sodium is OK, don’t drain the beans and use the bean liquid. Add another 10 minutes to the simmering time.

Makes 8 servings

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