Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quick Chili

Some of you might already be familiar with our annual chili cook-off tradition but here's a little background for those that are not. For the past 4 years, Chris and I have thrown a winter party where we each cook a giant pot of chili and leave it up to our guests to decide whose is best. After the first year, we learned that the voting has to be entirely anonymous for it to work. (there may or may not have been one person lagging behind so much that guests started to feel sorry for me and added votes to my tally) Now, guests don't know which chili is mine and which is Chris's - they are simply marked as "Red" and "Green" chili - and they use M&Ms of the same colors to vote for their favorite in a cup that is concealed by a foil top so they can't see who's winning. It's become quite a fun party over the years and the score is tied right now - 2 to 2. Check back on the blog after the New Year to see the winning recipe. For now, this is a quick version we came up with the other night to tide us over until chili cook-off time. Hope you enjoy!

Time: 1.5 hours
Serves: 4

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 extra large or 2 medium-sized yellow onions
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 1 1/4 lb of ground beef with 20% fat - get chili grind if you can find it
  • 3 TBSP of chili powder*
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 small cans of El Pato tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chicken and/or beef broth
  • sharp cheddar cheese, Fritos and extra onion for topping
  1. Peel and chop your onion - you should have about 2 cups of onion.
  2. Peel and finely chop your garlic cloves.
  3. Rinse and chop your celery stalk.
  4. Finely chop your jalapeno
  1. Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and add your 1 TBSP of olive oil.
  2. Once your oil has heated for a couple of minutes, add your onions, garlic, celery and jalapeno. Cook that for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  3. Add your beef and cook for another 5 minutes or so until it's all browned.
  4. Drain off any excess grease from the beef and discard. It's okay if there are still a couple of tsp left - it'll add some flavor.
  5. Add your 3 TBSP chili powder, 1 TBSP cumin, 1 tsp brown sugar and 3 tsp of salt and stir together.
  6. After a couple of minutes, add your 2 cans of El Pato, 1 can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of chicken broth.
  7. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so it just bubbles. Simmer it for 1 hour with no lid on the pot.
  8. Serve with fritos, cheddar cheese and raw onions. This gets even better the next day if you need to make it ahead of time and re-heat it. If you have a lot leftover, it's great to freeze too.


*Chili powder - Chris wanted me to clarify that we actually used 2 different kinds of chili powder for this recipe. Our old standby is Gebhardt's, which you can find on your grocery store spice aisle. We also have a super spicy chili powder that we bought in Santa Fe sometime ago that we love. I used 2 TBSP of Gebhardt's and 1 TBSP of the spicy stuff. If you've got a variety on hand, it's good to mix it up a bit. If not, just use what you have although you may want to add in 1 tsp or so of cayenne pepper to give it some heat.