Football Food: The Chili Edition

Where's the beef?! It's right here, sir.

Chilly? Chili.

It's almost November - It's getting cold out, and it's time for some hearty food to fill you up on Saturdays. If you're not full of warm food during your tailgate, that ice cold beer is going to just make you even colder!

With that in mind, I present to you my take on chili. Chili is one of the more contentious foods out there, so simply out of respect, I will not tell anyone that the way they make chili is wrong. Some ways are better, but no one is wrong.

I view my chili recipe as an always-evolving work of art, and I am very close to locking it in as an officially complete recipe. Let's get right into it, and be sure to share your tweaks/tips/tricks in the comments.

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What you'll need

  • 1lb Beef (You can use ground beef, but I prefer grass fed chunks of beef. I got this beef from Riemer Family Farm in Brodhead, WI)

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  • 1 Large Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (24-26 oz)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Feel free to up the amount here, I often do)
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped (not too tiny - this is going IN to the chili, not on top. Looking at you, Cincinnati)
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans (I replaced dark kidney beans with black beans a while ago)
  • 1 Package Frozen Corn (If you're real about it, you'll get corn on the cob and grill it before putting into the chili)
  • 1 Small Can Tomato Sauce (12oz)
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Powder
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Smoked Chipotle Tabasco (Or adobo smoked chipotle peppers, spicier)
  • Cocoa powder (100% cacao, nothing sweet here)
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper

OK here we go - heavy on the pictures, light on the instructions. It's chili, you put in the tomatoes, the beef, and baby you've got a stew going!

First, empty out both cans of whole tomatoes into your large pot or crockpot and start it simmering on low. Use a spoon or ladle to crush the tomatoes to your desired consistency. They'll breakdown further as you go.

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Then, in a separate pan, add your beef. I suggest using a little olive oil and seasoning with sea salt and pepper if you're using chunks of beef like I am. Treat it right, and It will treat you right:

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After the beef is cooked to roughly rare (don't need to cook it all the way through):

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Remove it from the pan, and replace it with the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, and starting to caramelize. Make sure the pan isn't scalding, or you'll burn the garlic:

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After about 20 minutes of simmering, the tomatoes should be good and ready. Add in the beef and onion/garlic mixture. Stir it up a bit and let it stew for 15 minutes on low.

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After 15 minutes are up, add in your chili powder and worcestershire sauce. Personally, I also add cayenne at this step, about 1/3 of what I put in for the chili powder. Stir it up, and taste it. Add more of whatever you're shooting for (I tend to be heavy worcestershire, heavy cayenne). Let it stew for another 15 minutes.

Add the beans and corn to your chili, and let it stew for 20 minutes.

Finally, if you would like, add the tomato sauce to reduce the chunkyness factor. This is all preference. At this time, I add the cocoa powder, smoked chipotle Tabasco, and a bit more chili and cayenne powders. I generally let it simmer for 15 more minutes, give it a taste test, adjust the final seasonings, and take it off the stove:

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Freezes well, tastes perfect, and warms you up on those late fall afternoons.

My future experiments with chili are definitely going to involve beer, different meats, as well as a shot at something extremely, extremely spicy. Something about serving ghost pepper chili to my houseguests excites me...

Go Irish, beat hunger.

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