Since the last time I addressed the subject of weather, we have had some almost summer-like days and some bitterly cold, late January-esque days. Most days, however, have a bit of chill in the air, just right for fall. It is on those days that we can really enjoy our soups and stews and most recently, a very large pot of chili.
Now, this is no ordinary pot of chili. I should know. I have a very special, totally impartial means of judging meals. I don't need to tell you about the complex flavors coming from the toasted spices and the beer. I don't need to tell you about the perfect amount of spiciness. I just use my special system. I could call it the husband-hum system. Or the hum test. Or the happy-husband-hum. You see, I have my own personal "thermometer" for a good meal built right into my (very objective) husband. The better a meal tastes, the more he hums. And last night, he was practically singing!
There are many ways to enjoy chili. You can eat it over rice (as we always had it growing up), or corn chips (as my husband likes it), but last night we decided to eat it with cornbread, sprinkled with cheese and a dollop of sour cream. It was a fabulous treat, and a foil to the windy chill outside.
Chili for a Crowd*from my mom's kitchen
4 pounds lean ground beef
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 large sweet onions, coarsely chopped
2 large bell peppers, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
10-ounce can tomatoes and green chilies
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
6-ounce can tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, drained
15-ounce can black beans, drained
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons coriander
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bottles dark beer
Brown the ground beef in a large pot. Drain the beef in a colander to remove the fat. Set aside.
In the same pot, sauté the garlic, onions, and bell peppers in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cumin and coriander in a dry skillet until steamy and starting to brown. Add the spices and ground beef to the vegetables. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally.
*This recipe make a lot; there will be plenty for you and friends, or you can freeze it for later enjoyment! You could half the recipe, but make sure you find a good use for that half-can of rotel (tomatoes with chilies)!