Easy Family Chili
This is the chili recipe I've been using for years. It's not too fancy and not too spicy, and definitely easy. After you've made it a few times, you'll probably no longer need to refer to the recipe. Fancy it up with extra ingredients like chopped chili peppers, green or red peppers, garlic, mushrooms, etc. for your own special version.
- 1 to 1.5 lbs (.5 to .75 kg) ground beef
- 1 or 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- chili powder, salt, pepper
- 1 28 oz (750 ml) can diced tomatoes, or 2 smaller cans
- 1 10 oz (284 ml) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted - not absolutely essential
- 2 19 oz (940 ml) cans dark red kidney beans, or 3 smaller cans
- 1 or 2 14 oz (375 ml) cans brown beans - optional
- Time: 1.75 to 2.5 hours from start to finish
- Servings: 4
- Over medium heat, brown your meat along with the onions and a little bit of water in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Don't break up the meat too much.
- When most of the pinkness is gone from the meat, dump in the canned tomatoes, tomato soup, some salt and pepper and a Tablespoon or so of chili powder and give it a stir.
- Drain all the beans and add the liquid to the pot (there may not be very much). The beans themselves will be added later.
- Stir to mix everything together. Stay right there, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Immediately turn down heat to medium low, stirring until the mixture is just simmering.
- Now, decide how soon you want to eat! If you're in a hurry, leave the lid off the pot, keep the mixture barely simmering, and stir every 15-20 minutes until it thickens up. This usually takes 45-60 minutes. If there's no rush, it tastes a bit better if you put on the lid, coming by to stir it every 15-20 minutes, again leaving it barely simmering. This method takes 1.5 hours or more.
- When it's almost as thick as you want it, do a taste test and add additional chili powder if needed. Then, add the beans. You'll need to stir every 5-10 minutes after the beans are added so they don't stick to the bottom. In about 20-30 minutes, supper's ready!
- Serve with thickly cut buttered toast, saltines (soda crackers) or your favourite bread.
- Make available a shaker of chili powder and / or dried chilis for those who like their chili spicy.
- It's important to use a heavy bottomed pot so the mixture doesn't stick, especially after the beans are added.
- Brown beans can be added to get more servings, or when it will be served to children (who sometimes don't care for kidney beans so much, but like brown beans).
- The recipe can be easily doubled or triped, just make sure you have a large enough pot. I rarely double the tomato soup, and never triple it.
- Stewing beef can be used in place of ground beef, but you must use the slow cooking method so the meat will be tender.
- To reheat leftovers, put a half cup of water or so in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot, add the chili and cover. Warm slowly over low to medium low heat, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Add more water now and then if it starts to stick or sizzle. It'll take a while, but you won't have half your food stuck to the bottom of the pot. :)
- Change the proportions to suit. My family prefers more beans than tomatoes, yours may not. Don't worry about it too much, even if you have only one wrong sized can of each item, it'll still be chili. :)
- If you're one of those folks who believe chili should have no beans, feel free to leave them out, but you'll get fewer servings unless you add extra meat, veggies, etc.
- For a meatless version, add extra beans and / or your favourite ground beef substitute.
- Once you find a brand of chili powder you like, always have extra on hand. I've been stuck using a different brand once or twice and didn't care for the flavour. All chili powders are not the same. Take your empty container to the store with you and compare ingredient labels if you must use a substitute.
- Lower temperatures, slower cooking, and waiting til the next day to eat it make chili even better.
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