To say this is weird weather is probably the understatement of the year. At least where we live, it's warm, then cold, then warm and now it's taken a turn for cold -- again.
It's times like these that call for chili. Actually, I love soup and stews anyway. Without fail, I always put a soup or stew on our weekly meal plan throughout the winter (even though we don't always have much of a winter here, thank goodness!). More often than not, my husband asks for chili. And specifically, his sister Maely's chili.
My sister-in-law emailed me her recipe 4+ years ago right after my husband and I were married and it's been our favorite chili recipe ever since. (Actually, when my slow cooker was broken and I was looking for a stove-top version, America's Test Kitchen's chili was almost the exact same ingredient list, so Maely clearly has good taste!)
We love to pile ours with different things -- cheddar cheese, diced onions, cubed and roasted sweet potatoes (my favorite!), plain Greek yogurt, and maybe Fritos. It's so perfect for cold weather and seems especially appropriate for football games. Perhaps even for Super Bowl XLVIII? (Go Seahawks!)
Taken from: my sister-in-law (stove-top instructions taken from America's Test Kitchen)
- 3/4 - 1 pound ground beef
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 onion, chopped (probably about 1 cup of chopped onions)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3-4 cans kidney beans (light and/or dark), drained and rinsed
- 1 large (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 3-4 cans chili beans (I usually use pinto beans and black beans instead if I can't find chili beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons chili powder or more (I start with about 3 tablespoons and then add in more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- Toppings: diced raw onions (we prefer red onions), shredded cheddar cheese, plain Greek yogurt, cubed and roasted sweet potatoes, crushed red pepper (if you want extra heat), Fritos
- For the slow cooker: In a saute pan over medium heat, add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is almost done and then add the onions, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are turning color. (You can drain some of the fat off now, if you'd like.)
- Add beef and onion mixture as well as the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker. If possible, cook on low heat for most of the day (6-9 hours). Taste and add more chili powder, salt, pepper or other seasonings if needed.
- On the stove-top: Heat a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the beef until almost no pink is left. Add the onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 4-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the beans and diced tomatoes (with their juice). Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat so it maintains a slow simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more chili powder, salt, pepper or other seasonings if needed.
- Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The chili can also be frozen for up to 1 month (let the chili thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating).