Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cooking 101: How to Make Beef and Bean Chili

Beef and bean chili is another staple of my cold-weather cooking. It's relatively straightforward and the below recipe will yield roughly eight meals (and maybe more when combined with a starch and vegetable). Feel free to use larger quantities but try to keep the ratio between ground beef and tomatoes consistent.

Here's how to make it:

Heat fat (i.e. butter, coconut oil, olive oil) in a large sauté pan and cook one pound of ground beef (preferably grass-fed; break it into smaller pieces as you cook it) until about 75 percent done. Remove the meat to a bowl, leaving some of the fat/juices in the pan. Cut one onion (small chop) and one pepper (red, yellow or orange; bite-size pieces) and cook in fat until soft. 

Add ground cumin, ground chipotle pepper (or paprika, cayenne, etc.), salt and pepper and stir. Add meat back to pan and stir. Add (roughly) 25 ounces of pureed or strained tomatoes (I use a 24-ounce jar of Bionaturae strained tomatoes) and stir. Bring to a boil, return to simmer. Let simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so tomatoes don't stick/burn. 

Turn off the heat and add a (roughly) 15-ounce can of beans (kidney or black beans are traditional, but any will do) and stir. Taste and reseason. You will most likely need a lot more salt and spices. 

If you are using diced or whole peeled tomatoes, you'll need to cook the tomatoes longer to achieve a thick consistency. (That being said, some people like their chili on the looser side.)

Also, if you are serving this to company, it's nice (but not essential) to take the extra time to prepare bowls of toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions, chopped avocado, etc.

Like with most stews, braises and soups, the flavor of this chili will improve as it sits in the refrigerator. It'll stay good for almost a week.

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