Thursday, December 6, 2012

John's Chili Recipe

Back in the early 1980s, I found a chili recipe in the "Good Morning!" section of the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper that was so easy to follow that even I, a cooking-challenged bachelor at the time, could not screw it up. Over the years, I have modified it, adding some ingredients, like jalapeno peppers, and leaving out others, like the twelve-ounce can of American beer called for in the original recipe, until I think my chili is pretty darn good and plenty hot:


1 standard size package of lean ground beef (or a finely cubed sirloin steak if you like Texas style)
1 large white or yellow onion
1 large green pepper
12 fresh jalapeno peppers (or fewer if you don't like your chili too hot)
4 plum tomatoes
1 15-oz. can of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
2 8-oz. cans of Mexican pre-cooked pinto beans (or equivalent reconstituted dry pinto beans)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic flakes (or chopped fresh garlic)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
½ 4.5-oz. container of chili powder (McCormick or other)


1.  Finely dice the onion, green pepper and jalapeno peppers. Be sure to remove the seeds and insides of the peppers. Use a spoon with the jalapeno peppers to avoid acid burns!
2.   In a large stew pot on medium heat, pour in the olive oil and sprinkle in the garlic. Sautee for a few minutes.
3.   Turn heat up to medium high. Add in the ground beef and then use a wooden spoon to chop it up finely and mix it in with the olive oil and garlic. Add salt and pepper if desired.
4.   When the ground beef begins to brown, add in the onions. Sautee until the onions start to become clear and the ground beef is completely browned.
5.   Turn the heat back down to medium. Add in the green pepper and jalapeno peppers. Mix thoroughly. Cover pot and let simmer while next contents are prepared.
6.   Dice the tomatoes. Drain and rinse the canned pinto beans.
7.   Stir the pot thoroughly and add in the tomatoes.
8.   Stir thoroughly and add in the tomato sauce.
9.   Stir thoroughly and add in the pinto beans.
10. Stir thoroughly and then cover for 10-15 minutes.
11. Slowly blend in cumin, paprika and chili powder.
12. Turn heat to simmer and let chili simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
13. Turn off heat and serve, or let chili cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for later.

The beans absorb the flavors and the peppers mellow a little over time, so the chili is best served a day or so after preparation. It microwaves well and is really good served with flour tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

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