September 28, 2012

Jenny's Favorite Chili (Recipe)

There. I did it. I gave away Wife's real name. I had to. Well, I guess I didn't have to have to.  I could have let the majority of people wonder who this Jenny was, and why I was promoting chili on her behalf.  But it's the name of the recipe.  It always has been.  This is one of the first things I began to make regularly once I got married, because it's just that easy and inexpensive.  I have read that in some parts of the country, there is controversy about whether or not chili can contain beans (or even tomatoes,) but unless your sole purpose is to top a chili dog, I don't see why you'd want to leave either out.

First things first, you'll need an onion.  (Well, first you'll need a decent sized soup-pot heating up a tablespoon of olive oil, but after that?  An onion.)  You'll want to give this a pretty small dice.  I personally hate cutting onions, as my reaction to the syn-propanethial-S-oxide inside of them is pretty severe, causing not just tears but sometimes even headaches, so I want to get them cut as quickly as possible.  To that end, I use this technique I learned from various cooking shows.  First, cut your onion in half, leaving on the root end.
The root will help keep everything together.

Next, make slices horizontally across the exposed end of the onion, towards the root end, like so. 
Then, vertical slices the same direction.

Now just the onion like you were slicing it for burgers, and watch a perfect dice appear. 
Well, perfect if your knife skills are better than mine. 
Toss the onion into the heated oil, and cook three minutes or until just barely tender.  Then add 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. of ground beef and a pinch of salt.  Break up the beef, and cook until it is browned.
Getting there.
Once the beef is browned, add your seasonings.  I use the following spices:

Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper

You'll notice I didn't give measurements.  I don't really care for being too precise with chili.  Generally, I use a tablespoon of cumin and a couple of teaspoons of everything else, but those are eye-ball measurements.  Cumin has such a great flavor that I always want it to be the center of my chili, but my desires regarding spice or the herbal note of oregano vary.  I typically add a couple of fresh jalapenos to my chili during the next step, but this time I didn't have any, so I also added 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper.  
Once the spices have been added, I follow it up with a green bell pepper (diced slightly larger than the onion,) 1-2 diced fresh jalapenos (if not using crushed red pepper,) 2 cans of no-salt added kidney beans, drained and rinsed, and two cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes.  (Alternatively, you can use 4 tomatoes, diced, but canned is the way to go regarding ease versus taste difference unless they are garden fresh tomatoes.)  Bring the mixture up to a simmer, then add a can of sliced black olives, a can of tomato sauce, and another round of seasoning.  Return to a simmer, then serve with sour cream and sharp cheddar.  This easy and hearty meal serves six.  
We usually eat it for two nights at a time. 



  1. Sounds good; I’ve never had it with green bell peppers in it before. Like the hobbit bowls!

  2. It looks delicious on the photo! Good recipe and nice explained too.