Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Beef Chili

I made this yesterday for our New Year's Day supper and it was DELICIOUS. In fact, I meant to take pictures, but was so excited to eat it that I forgot. Hubby loved it -- and he does not normally fall head over heels for chili. Especially if it containts pinto beans.

I got the recipe from this month's issue of Everyday Food, which is their "light" issue. So this beef chili is a lighter version of the standard. But I tell you: it does not taste light. It tastes hearty and wonderful. I added a couple of small twists to the recipe which don't add calories, but do add to the flavor.

And it was also surprisingly easy to make!

Dena's New Year's Beef Chili

1 tbsp vegetable oil (like safflower or sunflower)
1 or 2 organic medium onions, chopped (depending on how much onion you like)
4 or more organic garlic cloves, chopped (again, depending on how much garlic you like; I used 6)
1 medium organic red bell pepper (or green, if you prefer), chopped into small bits
2 tbsp organic tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp fair trade unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pound grass-fed ground sirloin or chuck
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes and their juice (or 2 14.5 oz cans if that's what ya got)
1 14.5 oz can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 25 oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 14.5 oz cans...)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Optional toppings: sliced scallions, light sour cream, light shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and/or avocado

In a large pot or dutch oven (my beloved Le Creuset dutch oven came through for me yet again), heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the garlic and onion. After about a minute, add the bell pepper. Add salt and pepper and let it all cook through and get yummy. Once the onion is translucent and it smells really delicious, add the tomato paste, chili powder, and cocoa powder and stir well so it all combines for about 2-3 minutes and gets really fragrant.

Add the ground beef and break it up with the back of your spoon into small pieces, stir, and let it brown. When there is no more pink, add the beans and tomatoes and their juice and stir.

Let it simmer on low heat, covered, for about 10-15 minutes so the flavors can meld. When you're about 3 minutes from turning off the heat, add the vinegar and as much Tabasco as you like/can stand. Taste it and add any salt and pepper if needed.

Keep in mind: the longer it sits and/or simmers, the more the flavors will develop. I let mine simmer for about 15 minutes and then let it sit with the flame off for about 20 more.

Serve and top with your garnish of choice and enjoy!

Makes GREAT leftovers. I can't wait to eat my lunch today.

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