vegan or meaty
when i was younger, every fall our neighborhood held a chili cook-off. it was awesome. the kitchen would fill with crock-pots and kids running around, parents shouted instruction “go play in the basement!” only being ignored. i don’t remember one shred of a side dish, vegetable, or anything non-chili related, with the implied exception of alcohol. i loved chili, but remember i wouldn’t even try any other chili but my parent’s. i remember knowing that the other pots of chili would be far too sweet and tomato-y for my taste. my parents hit it dead on. i have no idea if it was my mom or my dad who made the chili, or if there was even a recipe they followed. i would love if i could pry it out of their hands… (HINT!)
this is not my parent’s, but here is my favorite chili recipe. the addition of cocoa powder may look horrible and offensive to some people, but cocoa is traditionally used in mole sauces, chili, and many mexican dishes. same goes for cinnamon. just give it a whirl, i promise you will love it. this is a good one to cook, let it cool over night, and have the next day for dinner. reheating, as i said in my soup post, is the key to good soups and chili. people love serving cincinnati chili over noodles, but i like mine with a ton of cheese on top. and no, this is not a skyline chili duplicate. their chili is weird.
-vegans, this recipe is for you, too. simply use ground tempeh in place of beef and vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. be sure to fry the crumbled tempeh in a little oil and over low heat.
-meat eaters, i used ground buffalo last time i made this, but you can use any ground chuck or round, bison or buffalo.. whatever you got. just be sure to use a little oil to fry the beef in if the fat content is low.
i’ve simplified this recipe by grouping the ingredients together in order of their use. enjoy this tasty chili all week, i swear your hard work will pay off!
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
a few minced cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
small sprinkle of dried crushed pepper flakes
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes, in juices
1 tiny can (14 or 15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can of chili beans, drained (the beans are optional)
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce (optional, but highly recommended)
in a large pot, combine all wet ingredients (group 1) and stir well. pot should be cool, you’re not cooking this yet.
combine group 3 ingredients (meat onions etc) in hot, deep skillet. i always use cast iron for this. keep ingredients moving so nothing burns. once meat is browned, dump contents into a large pot with a lid and set aside.
next, in a dry skillet, toast spices in group 2 for just a few minutes over low heat, just until they become fragrant. dump the spices over group 1 & 3 in the pot, combining all ingredients. stir well. i usually let this mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight, but you could also cook it up right away.
bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn heat to low and cook with lid on for one hour, stirring well. turn heat off and let it hang out for an hour without heat. (letting it cool like this before you reheat to serve is what thickens the chili by pulling the pectin out of the tomatoes. yes, there is a science to thickening chili, this is why it’s best served as leftovers!)
to serve, reheat chili with lid off.
place crazy amounts of cheese on top of your bowl of chili and dig in! YUMSVILLE.