Quick, Gut-Warming Chili


Okay, I’m being dramatic, I know. But Come.On.Chicago. I’m over it. EXCEPT that this chili really hit the spot. There’s kind of nothing better than a big bowl of thick, hearty, comforting chili on a chilly day (see what I did there? I’m a veritable wordsmith, I tell you.). While most chilis take hours of nursing and coaxing to get to their just right, this one is a breeze to make and doesn’t make you wait until the weekend or require that you risk burning your house down by letting it cook all day while you’re at work. It’s incredibly easy to modify, and lands every time. Can’t go wrong. Don’t you want some now? Almost enough to wish it would stay cold for a few more days? No? Well, save it then. Here you go:

* olive oil
* ~1lb ground meat (I used turkey this time, but I’ve made it with beef and chicken before, and really anything works in chili, so whatever you want – go for it)
* 2 bell peppers, color of your choosing (I used red and yellow this time, because that’s what I had)
* 1 small yellow onion, chopped
* 5-8 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
* 1 can each: kidney, black, and pinto beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 cup frozen corn
* 1.5t cumin
* 1.5t garlic powder
* 1.5T chili powder
* 1/2t paprika
* 3/4t dried oregano
* 1/2t cayenne pepper
* 1/2t salt
* 1/2t pepper
* 2t low-sodium soy sauce
* 1-2C water

One of the elements of cooking I’m the most proud of tackling is timing. This dish, while easy and quick to pull together, and rather low-maintenance in the prep department, is actually a great example of that. Getting organized ahead of time into “batches” in terms of the ingredients that go in together or within a few moments of each other is key to getting this one-pot glory cooking just right. No one wants burnt chili, amiright?! So I usually start this one by preparing a few items into groups.

First, I chop the onion and peppers:

Then I pull out all the spices and line them up in order, get my measuring spoons at the ready, prepare water in a cup, drain the beans and open the can of tomatoes, etc. It just gets the operation running smoothly. So take the few minutes to do that and you’ll be in great shape once you start cooking.

Now we’re ready to go. Drizzle just a bit of olive oil into the bottom of a medium-large pot, and set over medium heat. Then add your ground meat and break it up and stir until it browns. Then add the onion, peppers, and garlic, and stir together for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften up.

Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, spices, soy sauce, and water, and mix it all together. Bring it just to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes, until the liquid reduces and the chili thickens up.

I actually leave it simmering on the lowest heat even after I serve our first helpings usually. It will continue to thicken up and to meld all the good spices into the meat. This is one of those gem meals where the leftovers might be better than the original serving. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, Fritos, tortilla chips — whatever you like. And warm that gut right up!



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