Friday, January 20, 2012

Very Veggie Beef and Bean Chili

After a nice period of seasonably mild weather, Old Man Winter is back again!  Ugh.  Cold weather does not agree with me.  But fortunately, when I get down about the chill in the air, I remember that it is the perfect time for a hot bowl of chili, and I smile again.  

I have made several different recipes for chili.  I liked them all, but I have found that I like them better when I mix them all together!  This recipe is a hodgepodge of this and that.  And honestly, some of this came about just because of what I happened to have at the house at the time.  I know that everyone has a favorite chili recipe, and this is mine!

This chili recipe is full of veggies, beans, and flavor.  So you can feel good about eating it, and not just because eating chili makes you feel good!  It does have a bottle of beer in it.  I have made it before when I didn't have a beer around, in which case I used water and sprinkled a little yeast in it to give it that nice, yeasty beer flavor.

And like all good chili recipes, this is really easy to put together, throw in a crock pot, and forget until dinner time.  

Start by browning a pound of hamburger, and draining it thoroughly.  While the meat is draining, saute onion, garlic, green pepper, and a carrot.  I like the sweetness the carrot pieces add to the chili!  I have started adding a little sugar to my pan when I saute veggies.  The sugar caramelizes the veggies to give them a little boost of deliciousness!
Then add your seasonings to the skillet and cook a little longer.  Adding the seasonings at this time lets their flavor come out even more.  
Then put the veggies, the beef, and the rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker or stock pan and simmer for a few hours.  The longer it simmers, the more the flavors blend, and the better it tastes!
This chili reheats fabulously!  In fact, it might even be better the next day.  This makes it great to make on a weekend to have ready for busy weeknights.  Just whip up a batch of low fat cornbread, reheat the chili, and remember that winter isn't all bad!

Very Veggie Beef and Bean Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, or 1 1/2 cup homemade kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans, or 1 1/2 cup homemade black beans
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel tomatoes
1 ( 15 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz) bottle beer (optional), can use water instead
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 cup water
Cook ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.  Drain thoroughly.
While draining beef, add sugar to skillet, reduce heat to medium, and saute onion, green pepper, and carrots in grease remaining in the skillet until beginning to soften.  Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.  Saute for about one more minute, until fragrant.
Place beef, vegetable mixture, and remaining ingredients in a large slow cooker or pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Allow to simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapenos.

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