It’s a snowy day here in St. Louis so there’s no better time to share a hearty, warm-you-from-the-inside-out chili than today. I have always been a big fan of chili. I used to make it “the easy way.” Break out a couple cans of Brooks’ chili hot beans, a can of rotel, a can of tomato soup, a pound of ground beef, and spices. It was easy and delicious. When we figured out Buddy is allergic to legumes I quickly realized (cause it was “chili season” at that time) that I couldn’t make my “easy” chili anymore. And so we went about a year without it. Recently I decided we had missed out on enough delicious bowls of warmth. If Texans can make amazing chili without beans, so can I!
After perusing several no-bean chili recipes, I found Emeril Lagasse’s Chuck Wagon Chili recipe. The reviews sang its praises so I knew I didn’t want to mess with it too much…but worked with what I had on hand and came up with quite an amazing pot o’ chili if I do say so myself.
2 Tbls evoo
2 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
3 Tbls chili powder
1 Tbls cumin
1 1/2 tsp Emeril’s Essence (you can pick this up at WalMart)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 c chopped onion (I used frozen)
1/2 Tbls minced garlic (Emeril calls for 2 Tbls…which scared me so I cut it way back)
22 oz. Guiness (you can use any dark beer…I LOVE the flavor Guiness gives to stews and chilis)
1-28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed, with juices (next time I’m totally using a can of crushed)
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1-6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup beef consomme (can use broth too)
2 Tbls semisweet chocolate chips
cornstarch and water (to make a slurry if you need to thicken your chili…see below)
elbow macaroni (if you like a good chili mac)
shredded cheddar (for topping)
sour cream (for topping…especially good to have on hand if anyone is sensitive to even a little heat…this isn’t a super spicy chili by any means but sour cream is an easy way to calm any spice)
chopped green onions (for topping)
chopped cilantro (for topping)
Heat oil in a large stock pot, add meat and spices (through crushed red pepper) and cook through. Drain grease.
Add onion and cook for several minutes. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add beer and cook until foam subsides.
Crush up those tomatoes…or, as I said, skip this step and buy the can of crushed tomatoes. Oye.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, consomme (or broth), and chocolate. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce to simmer, partially cover (allowing some liquid to evaporate to help your chili thicken) and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
As you can see, at this point, my chili was a little on the thin side. Bring on the cornstarch slurry! This is an easy way to thicken up your chili. Mix 1 Tbls cornstarch with 1 Tbls water until smooth. Whisk into chili and cook for just a couple minutes. If still too runny, repeat. I used two slurries for this recipe but yours will just depend on how much liquid evaporated during cooking.
Serve over pasta for a heartier chili mac (or to stretch your batch of chili if you’re feeding a crowd) and top with whatever you like. I went for a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Yumm.
What are your favorite cold weather foods??