We love chili! It's especially a fall and winter favorite – although I enjoy it year-round myself!
The following is an adaptation of several recipes that (probably) get slightly modified every time I make chili – especially when it comes to the spices. Chili, in my opinion, is a great "use what you have on hand" recipe!
In 2 Tbsp of olive oil, brown the following:
1 lb ground meat
(We use beef, turkey, venison, or a mix!)
(OR ½ lb to 1 lb mild sausage)
1 medium onion (about 1 cup)
(OR 2 to 4 Tbsp dried onion)
½ tsp lemon pepper
1 or 2 garlic cloves
(OR ½ tsp to 1 tsp garlic powder)
Dash of fresh ground pepper
Put meat mixture in large Dutch oven, and then add:
4 to 5 cans (15 oz) beans
(I usually use part pintos plus a variety of other beans, including kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, Pork & Beans, etc. to equal four or five [15 oz] cans.)
OR 4 cups [2 lbs] uncooked pinto beans, partially cooked using the "Quick Soak Method"
(If starting with 4 cups of dry beans, soak them using the "Quick Soak" method in a large pan with 6 to 8 cups of water: Bring to a rapid boil on medium-high heat; then boil two more minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand one hour. Drain and rinse beans and then add them to the chili pot.
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
(The sugar cuts down on the acidity!)
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
½ cup ketchup
1 cup spaghetti sauce
Simmer on the stove for at least 30 minutes (if using canned beans) or at least one hour if using “Quick Soak Method” beans. The rule of thumb with chili seems to be: The longer it simmers, the better! Chili is also a great slow cooker meal!
I sometimes add:
2 cans (7 oz) mushroom pieces (in the pot)
1 mild banana pepper (in the pot)
1 green pepper (in the pot or at the last minute)
If I have fresh tomatoes on hand, I like to add two large fresh tomatoes to the pot just before serving up the chili!
Use your imagination with what you have on hand – and enjoy!