Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chili To Take Away The Chill

I am always looking out for recipes that cater to a crowd, can be made ahead of time, and preferably all in one pot! Come to think about it, it's not like I entertain much (mostly keeping to the bare minimum to be considered a part of polite society), but when I do, my guests are almost always big eaters. So as much as I love and admire all the fancy-schmancy dinner recipes, where individual portions are works of art that formal guests can "ooooo" and "aahhhhh" over, currently my family and friends need serious quantity and quality, with minimum fuss. Which is why I was really happy when this recipe for simple, satisfying chili turned out to be one that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.Chili is such a staple in most American households, that it's almost ridiculous to even have a proper recipe for it. Every family has their own favorite recipe, and will happily proclaim theirs as the "best". But chili is a new animal for me. Coming from a Pakistani background, this humble dish is like nothing I'd ever had before I came to this part of the world oh-so-many years ago. Probably the first time I ever had chili was on top a hot dog (don't knock it, I'm still crazy about a great chili-cheese dog!). It did the job of spiking my interest in chili, and since then, I'm always trying out different versions of it (loved the venison chili I had in Snoqualmie, WA). Winters in Connecticut are nothing to laugh about, so I figured that now is the perfect time to try and hone my chilli skills, especially when I know I have a bunch of guests planning to stay over at my place for the holidays. This recipe will keep them warm in toasty from the inside out.

My Go-To Beef Chili (inspired by Jessica's recipe)
Serves 4-6

Click here for printable recipe

1.5-2 lbs ground beef
2-3 medium onions, diced
3-4 celery stalks, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 can of red kidney beans, drained (you could also use 2 cans - will feed more people!)
1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely minced
3-4 tbsp chili powder
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp salt

1. Heat up a couple of tsp of oil in a stock pot and brown the onions and ground beef, breaking up large chunks as you go along. I like to really get in there with the stirring, evaporate all the liquid and get some good caramelization on my meat.2. Next, add the rest of your ingredients and stir to combine.
3. Add six cups of water to the pot and stir again. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then cover and simmer over a low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours. Serve with bowls of shredded sharp cheddar, sour cream, diced fresh tomatoes, diced onions and chopped cilantro. This way people can personalize their individual portions.
Verdict: This is such a fun dish to eat, me thinks. All those layers of flavor are a party in my mouth - so much so that I was humming to myself while shoveling this down. Of course, it helps that it's so warm and filling; perfect for my Connecticut winter. DH, on the other hand, experienced some growing pains with this dish. He's a little more old school than I am, so wasn't too thrilled about the idea of eating this with a spoon. So he improvised - he had it like a curry, with hot parathas! And he loved it! Even I have to admit, it works really surprisingly well that way (I sneaked in a few bites when he was distracted). So will I be serving this to future guests? You better believe it. If you're wondering what to serve on the side ...

Mmmm, delicious Corniest Jalapeno-Corn Muffins look like a good match! Recipe to follow in my next post.


Mariam M said...

WOW! Another great recipe Muneeba! You make it sound so simple and effortless! I can't wait to try it :)

Foodiewife said...

yee-haw! You did a great job! I make chili all the time-- just made some last week It's fast, it's filling and it's perfect for lunches. Sometimes, I serve mine over brown rice. But those corn muffins... yeah, perfect!
PS: Go check out the roundup. I think the simultaneous editing is what wiped me out, but I think we're good! LOL

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Mmm this looks wonderful! I love the vibrant colours from the beans and cilantro. If you have a spice grinder, try making your own chili powder sometime, I guarantee you won't regret it:-)

Finla said...

Chillie looks really yumm, a real comfort food for these cold evenings.

Duchess of Tea said...

My son fell in love with chili while visiting a friend in Atlanta. I tried to make it for him once and albeit he claimed it tasted delicious, I know mine will never measure up to the one he had in the states. First chance I get I will use your recipe and will let you know of the results, wish me luck!! Darling, have a marvelous week.

P.S. Cumin is what I left out

Love & Hugs

Nizsha said...

Its an easy recipe and can feed a lot of people too what more do you want to enjoy the holiday season ;)

Happy Holidays Muneeba :)

Mari said...

Gasp I would love to make this!

Thanks for the great recipe

Jennifer said...

Nicely done, I have never made chili but this would be one I would make. I love the ingredient list!

Faith said...

Your pics are stunning. (I never thought of red kidney beans as gorgeous until now, lol!) I'm always looking for new versions of chili too, and yours looks fantastic!

Maria said...

I love chili and this sounds great. So comforting!

Anonymous said...

Mmm.. chili sounds wonderful and perfect with jalapno-corn muffins. I love your pictures!

nandini.p said...

Chili surely sounds tempting... The corn muffins look adorable. Loved ur crockeries... food blogging certainly makes one look out for new things all the time.

Erica said...

I love chili! That looks delicious! Your pictures are fantastic.Great for the cold weather in CT.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful chilli you made. i have yet to find my perfect chilli recipe. I always feel like its missing something. Another issue is that here in the UK we don't have a lot of the exotic chilli peppers that you guys have in america. Your recipe is very straightforward and all the ingredients are easy to find, so I may give this one a go. thanks for sharing it.
*kisses* HH

Kerstin said...

Now this looks like the perfect way to warm up :) I never had chili growing up and I'm still looking for the perfect recipe!

Oh, and thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the mac&cheese :)