Last night was ballet, so dinner needed to be in the crock-pot. What has become one of Abigail's favorite dinners is a bowl of chili, and it's been a while since I made some, so chili night it was. I am one of those who likes their chili nice and thick, full of chunks of ground beef, beans, and tomatoes. (Yes, beans are a must in my chili.) For Andy's Monday Night Football gatherings I've developed a really awesome thick chili that has beer and jalapenos in it, and a bit of a kick. That is not the kind of chili Abigail likes. In fact, Abigail's favorite chili is My Mom's, and because hers is not thick, we affectionately call it Chili-Soup for Abigail's benefit. There are literally hundreds of recipes for red chili out there. Yet chili is the one thing that I pass by a recipe every single time. I have never made chili by recipe, and don't intend to start.
So yesterday morning I set out to make chili, pen and paper in hand to chronicle the chili. I'd never written it down before, and thought I should do so for other people's benefit. Chili is a very economical meal- especially because one pot of chili for us is at least three dinners, plus lunches. It freezes great, and I love to have a package of it in the freezer to just pull out. The recipe I have in The Recipe Trove is pretty much how I made it last night. For the kids benefit, I just use a mild chili seasoning packet instead of individual chile powders because it just gets too hot for the kids to use powders. Of course, if you like heat, my favorite Chile Powders are from Penzey's- particularly their Ancho Chile Powder. If want a more manly chili, you can add a bottle of beer and eliminate all but one cup of beef broth. You can also add a jalapeno or two when you add the onions. For a thicker chili, reduce the beef broth and add a whole small can of tomato paste- then adjust your seasoning accordingly. Every chili is unique and every one's taste for chili is different.
Here is my Chili recipe, but change it however you see fit. And tonight for dinner, another new recipe from the 2001 Cooking Light Annual- don't you just love recipes that use leftovers!