Jul 01 2008
This post has been lingering in my Drafts folder for months, so I decided to bring it out into the daylight, especially since I plan on cooking up and freezing a batch of chili this week.
Here’s another recipe from my Grandma.
I love chili on a cold day. It is guaranteed to both warm me up and fill my stomach quickly. I always try to serve chili with fresh bread so that I can sop up every last bit of goodness. This recipe is easy, quick, and doesn’t require a lot of different ingredients. Perfect for those who don’t like to fuss too much with their dinner (that would be me). This chili heats up very well. We always end up eating it for lunch for the next couple of days.
You will need:
- 1 pound ground beef (I use an 83/17 Chuck, but you can use whatever you like)
- 3 cans condensed tomato soup
- 2-3 cans of water
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cans of dark red kidney beans, UNDRAINED (I use the Bush’s Seasoned Recipe)
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper
Prep time is about 15 minutes. Cook time is 30 minutes.
First you’ll need to dice your onion. Then, put it and the meat into a large, high-sided pan or a large pot, depending on what you’ve got available. I use a 12″ pan with 2.5″ high sides and everything fits nicely. Brown the meat and onion on high, then drain. Set your heat to medium.
Next, add in your “wet” ingredients. Plop in the tomato soup, and add in 2 can-fulls of water. You can add the third later if you decide you want a soupier texture. Add in the kidney beans as well – make sure you don’t drain them. The beans and their packing juice go into the pot. Stir everything around. You want to bring this to a slow bubble, then back the heat off ’til you’re at a simmer. You’ll simmer for 30 minutes, total.
It looks kind of anemic, I know, but it will thicken up as you cook. Mine gets darker as well, I’m not sure if that’s from cooking or from the chili powder. Speaking of . . .
While your chili is simmering, you’re going to start to add your chili powder. This is entirely a matter of taste, so the first time you make this, add slowly and keep tasting until you find a heat level you like. You can take this recipe from very bland to spicy, depending on how much chili powder you add. Remember to allow the chili to cook for a couple of minutes between adds to give the powder a chance to incorporate. I usually end up adding about 1/3 a bottle of powder (my bottle size is 4.5 oz). If I eyeball it, it looks like 1/4c of powder, give or take a bit.
Remember to give your chili a stir every now and then after you’ve added the chili powder. You want to make sure everything is mixing well.
See? Darker. This is what it looks like after it’s cooked for about 25 minutes. All the chunky stuff is hiding at the bottom.
I like to leave the salt and pepper until the end. A few minutes before I’m ready to serve, I’ll give it a taste and decide if it needs any additional seasoning. I usually end up throwing in 1 tsp. of kosher salt and a bunch of grinds of black pepper, just because I believe everything benefits from salt and pepper.
The really nice thing about this recipe is that it’s good as-is, or makes a nice “base” if you’re looking to get creative. Add some herbs, add more veggies, try different meats (venison chili, anyone?), whatever you like. If you have fresh cilantro, throw it in the pot! If you have leftover ground turkey, throw it in the pot! If you like corn in your chili (why you would, I don’t know, but some do), throw it in the pot! Give it a few shakes of Tobasco, or maybe add a little Worcestershire. Chili is pretty versatile, so do some experimenting.