The fourth Thursday in February is National Chili Day. Kind of perfect because chili is perfect for February. Actually, in my house, I think The Carnivore would like to designate EVERY Thursday a chili day. But maybe that’s just him.
Chili is one of those soups that anyone can make and everyone should try. There are so many variations, probably because of the many cultural influences. Though typically attributed to Mexican cuisine, chili also incorporates Spanish and Native American culinary traditions, as well as regional influences from across the US. No two chilis are alike, which makes it a perfect dish to tinker with to get your preferred taste.
Before you tinker, you need a starting point. And I went with a standard: Betty Crocker. It took me only a few batches to realize that I like some sweetness in my chili. But I also like a balance of spice and sweet. That led me to a combination of ingredients I always have on hand, which when combined resembles barbeque sauce.
Let’s get started.
Brown the ground beef in your pot. After a couple minutes and when the meat is partially browned, add chopped onion and celery. Cook and stir until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. If needed, wipe excess grease from the pan using tongs and paper towels (Extremely lean meat will not require this step).
Then add in the liquids: I use one can of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce (12 ounce size). Instead of plain kidney beans, I always use chili beans, which come in an already-seasoned sauce.
That whole can – sauce and all – gets added to the pot. And I mean all. Take a little water and rinse the bean can into the pot.
Give the mixture a stir and then add seasonings: chili powder (of course), garlic powder, and salt. Right now, this is pretty standard chili.
The last three ingredients? Yellow mustard, Worchestershire sauce, and brown sugar. This combo gives a spicy-sweet quality to the chili, which I (and The Carnivore) really enjoy.
Give this some time to simmer for the flavors to develop, then scoop some up to serve.
Maybe add some cheese and sour cream.
And crackers my personal fave. 😃
Give it a try, and then make a version of your own!
- 1 + pounds ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 15 oz can chili beans, undrained
- ¼ cup water
- 2 -3 TB chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 TB yellow mustard prepared
- 2-3 TB brown sugar
- 1 TB Worchestershire sauce
- Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. After a few minutes add onion and celery and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked and vegetables look tender.
- If needed, wipe excess grease from the pan using a paper towel held by a pair of tongs.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans. Use water to rinse out the bean can and empty into the pot. Stir together.
- Add all spices and stir well. Continue heating until soup begins to simmer.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.
- For thicker chili, remove cover and simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes or more, until desired consistency is reached.