I don’t know about you, but it’s still winter here and despite there being little to no snow on the ground the temps are still freezing and I need a winter pick-me-up! There was really only one option that would perfectly fit the bill: chili.
I think we can all agree that chili ranks right up there towards the top of the list of comfort foods. It’s warm, filling, and consumes your kitchen with deliciousness while it simmers on the stove.
For me, it goes beyond that; chili reminds me of my Grandfather. It was one of the foods he loved to make, and he always made a pot when we came to visit. For years I made his recipe, but eventually started to play with it. Below is the result, and I think it’s *superb* if I do say so myself.
The secret I found that lifted my Grandfather’s chili into superb territory is the addition of salsa. It adds a kick of flavor without having to add a bunch of different extra ingredients. Pair it with some sweet cornbread and you’ve got the perfect meal to warm up with on a cold winter day.
Hearty Stovetop Chili
1lb ground beef
1 medium white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15oz) can dark red kidney beans
1 (15oz) can light red kidney beans
2/3 cup salsa*
3-4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In large pan over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. While the beef is browning, open both cans of beans and rinse them in a colander, pour diced tomatoes in the same colander to drain.
Then, drain off excess fat and set meat aside in a bowl. In same pan, sauté onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add in garlic and sauté just until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Stir the ground beef back into the pan and sprinkle the salt over the mixture.
Add in the remaining ingredients (tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, salsa and spices). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
For best results: around the 1 hour mark, taste test and add in additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, and/or salt & pepper as needed. Note: as the chili sits it will get spicier, so watch your cayenne pepper if you plan on having leftovers!
Serve warm with a little cheddar cheese on top (plus sour cream if you’re feeling it), and a side of corn bread.
*Use basic, jarred, store-bought salsa. Steer clear of fresh/pico de gallo varieties, that isn’t the flavor we’re going for here. I usually use mild to medium Pace or La Victoria – whatever is on sale.
I know the new year is all about healthy eating and changing habits, blah blah blah, and this chili doesn’t masquerade as a calorie-free salad but it’s exactly what I needed today! After this chili is gone ::ahem, probably in less than 24 hours:: I’m going to be looking for some more comfort food – what’s your favorite dish to make when the temperature dips down?