Don’t even talk to me about chili in the summer. When the air feels like sweat and my shorts-clad legs are sticking to every surface they touch, chili sounds about as appetizing as a pile of rocks. But bring me a bowl of chili about now, when going outside requires the equivalent of a Michelin man suit, and I’ll be your best friend.
It seems no coincidence to me that this thick and meaty stew is called chili, because it’s always just what I’m longing for when the days are cold and dreary. I consider chili the clean out your cupboard, vegetable drawer, and freezer meal. This forgiving stew accepts nearly any forgotten meat or vegetable into its loving embrace. Don’t even worry about it. The slow, steady heat of the crock pot melds everything together into one big tasty family.
What follows is not so much a recipe, but a suggestion. Chili is easy to customize based on what your family likes and what happens to be rotting away in your fridges. Just stick to a basic formula of protein, beans, tomatoes, and spices and then experiment to find your favorite combination. Throw in some canned corn, a chopped jalapeno, or canned green beans (sounds weird, I know, but this is actually one of my favorite additions). Try chicken or sausage in place of ground beef. Add some hot sauce or take out the cayenne pepper. Eat it with Fritos in a bag or in a bowl with melted cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
This chili combo is one of our favorites. It includes both ground beef and round steak and has a slightly spicy, smoky flavor. If you like your chili soupier, just add some tomato juice to thin it out. See? It’s all up to you! Take our recipe and go make your own favorite!
P.S. You may want to hold off on making this for a few more days. See those golden muffins in the background? They’re cornbread. They go wonderfully with chili. And the recipe is headed your way tomorrow.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. round steak, cut into bite sized cubes
- Salt, to taste
- 1 15 oz. can and 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (again, this is what I had on hand...2 15 oz cans would also work)
- 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
- 1 teaspoon smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano