February 25 may not be a national holiday, but it’s World Chili Day and definitely worthy of celebration.
It’s a perfect excuse to enjoy a steamy hot bowl of your favourite chili. It’s also an excellent opportunity to experiment by either tweaking your family recipe or trying a new recipe altogether.
To ramp up any chili recipe, here are a few helpful tips and ideas to consider:
Brown your meat
Even if using a Crock-Pot, browning your meat will add a depth of flavour that just can’t be beat. To get nice brown bits instead of grey, steamed meat, be sure to preheat your pan, heat your oil, use room temperature meat and avoid stirring your meat until it has been fully seared.
Add extra veggies to get extra nutrients and stretch your chili by a couple of bowls. Sauté aromatic, hardy vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, peppers or sweet potatoes early in the process and add more tender vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, broccoli, green beans or corn towards the end of the cooking time so they’ll hold their shape and colour.
Heat your spices
Heat your spices in the pan before adding liquid ingredients. It just takes a minute or so to release their full aroma and flavour. If you really want to up your flavour game, heat and crush whole spices and chili peppers — you won’t believe the difference.
Simmer long and slow
Simmer as long as possible. A long, slow cooking time allows liquid to evaporate, meat to be tenderized and seasonings to be fully absorbed and well distributed. If using a Crock-Pot leave the lid askew for the last hour of cooking to ensure a thick, flavourful chili.
Experiment. Despite what chili aficionados may claim, there is no right or wrong when it comes to chili. Next time you make a batch, try using different meat or combinations of meat (beef and turkey, pork and bison, chicken and bacon or sausage and beef). Try a vegetarian version. Or try experimenting with ingredients like cocoa powder, cinnamon, coffee or a bottle of dark beer to create rich, deep colour and flavour.
Here are three tasty chili recipes to add to your recipe box. Enjoy!
Classic Beef ’n Beans Chili
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms, diced (10-12 mushrooms)
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- 1 c. beef stock
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans
- 1 can (14 oz.) navy beans or baked beans
- 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for one minute. Add oil to pan and heat for one minute. Add ground beef but don’t stir. Sear one side until golden brown, flip and sear other side. Break up into pieces and cook until no pink remains. Drain off liquid if needed. Add onions, celery and carrots; cook until softened and onions are translucent, about three to four minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms; cook another two to three minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne pepper; cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add beef stock, diced tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and gently simmer on medium to low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans; cook for another 15 minutes. Add brown sugar if chili is too acidic. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve with shredded cheese on top.
Recipe Source: gettystewart.com
Pork and Green Bean Chili
A great tomatoless alternative to traditional chili.
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 2 tsp. cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 can (15 oz./439 g) dark red kidney beans
- 2 c. frozen green beans
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Heat pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for one minute. Add oil to pan and heat for one minute. Add ground pork but don’t stir. Sear one side until golden brown, flip and sear other side. Break up into pieces and cook until no pink remains. Drain off liquid as needed. Add onions and celery; cook until tender, about three to four minutes. Add garlic; cook for another minute. Add basil, oregano and marjoram; sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add soup stock, cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. In small, separate bowl, mix cornstarch with 3 tbsp. water until well dissolved. Add cornstarch to pot and bring to boil, stirring frequently as sauce thickens. Reduce heat and bring to low simmer. Add kidney beans and green beans; heat through, about five to eight minutes. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with rice or simply as is.
Recipe Source: gettystewart.com
Really Good Veggie Chili
- 1 medium dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- Canola oil, for cooking
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. cumin
- Pinch cinnamon
- 2 19-oz. (540-ml) cans beans, such as kidney, black, romano or chickpeas
- 2 19-oz (540-ml) cans diced or whole tomatoes, or one of each
- Crumbled feta, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Spread sweet potato on baking sheet, drizzle generously with oil and toss around to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and turning golden. Set a medium pot over medium-high heat, add some oil and sauté onion, peppers and garlic for a few minutes, until soft. Chop and add cilantro stems and about half of the leaves (save the rest to put on top) along with the chili powder and cumin and cook for another few minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and roasted sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer; cook for 30-45 minutes, until thickened. Serve hot, topped with crumbled feta (or sour cream) and fresh cilantro.
Recipe Source: dinnerwithjulie.com