Growing up, chili was one of those things that I never liked. I'm not sure if it was the kind of beans used in the ones I tried, or maybe the cuts of beef? Anyhow, it wasn't until my Mom came home with a version of this recipe that I finally started eating chili. I love this!! Then, two years ago, I was introduced to White Chicken Chili! We'll save that for another day.
2 lb ground beef
2 lg onions, diced
2 cans Delmonte Zesty Jalapeno Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tomato paste
1/4 c Heinz Ketchup
1 T light brown sugar
2 beef bouillon cubes
4T + chili powder
1 heaping T cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
In a large pot, start off by sauteing your ground beef and onions over medium heat with a little salt and pepper. When the onions are translucent and the beef is just about cooked through, it's time to start adding in the goodies ...
You can drain off any fat if you want before proceeding, but I don't bother anymore. I figure if you cook with fat for flavor, why not let it lend it's flavor all the way through the process? It will rise to the top anyhow, so you can skim it later if you want. Besides, there are so many lean cuts of beef available now, you don't have to use a full-fat version. I usually buy 80% lean. There's also the clean-up factor. If you plan to drain off the beef, that either means trying to pour it into another container and risking the mess of splashes or losing some of the beef along with it...or, you saute the onions and beef in a pan and transfer it to a pot, which means extra clean-up. I just keep one of the empty cans handy, and if there's any fat to skim off the top later, I scoop it into the can.
I'm sure it's fine if you just add everything now, but I like to add the bouillon and brown sugar first to give the heat a chance to break them down before adding everything else. Then I add the tomatoes and ketchup to loosen things up so the beans don't get mashed when I stir them in. When it comes to the beans, I used to dump them into a strainer and run water over them until the goop was gone - you know, that slimy stuff in canned beans that makes it smell like cat food. Ewww! I figured the strainer was something extra to clean too, so now I just put my hand over the top of the open can pour out the gunk through my fingers and run water over it, repeating until rinsed.
I always start off with 4T of chili powder and 1 heaping T of cumin, then adjust toward the end. You may be using a different beef or have an extremely potent or mild onion that you want to adjust for, etc. It's all a matter of taste. Turn it down to a simmer and let it run for about an hour, uncovered.
While some people like their chili plain, and others prefer it over rice, I like mine over some sort of small pasta, with shredded cheese melted on the top and a dollop of sour cream.
Oooh, then there are the Fritos Scoops !!
Got leftovers? Sure you can go ahead and freeze the rest, but maybe you've got kids who come home looking for an after-school snack ... or maybe you're planning a Superbowl party or something. Here's what I did when we were having a party and I had a batch of homemade chili in the fridge ...
Buy a tube of refrigerated biscuit dough, the kind with layers. Peel the layers apart and press them into lightly sprayed mini-muffin cups, pressing the round into the bottom and up the sides. Fill the cup with chili and bake them off until the biscuit puffs up and browns around it. Go ahead and top them with a variety of options - a dollop of sour cream, a jalapeno round, little tortilla strips, diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, chopped cilantro, etc. Just put your imagination (the the contents of your fridge and pantry) to work for you.