Thursday, November 13, 2008

No-Frill Chili

I've made many pots of chili in the years. None of them have been bad but once in awhile you get one that turns out really well. I never use a recipe and can never really recall what exactly makes the good pots of chili better than the rest, just chucked it up to luck or the barometric pressure. This time I had the brains to write it down and lucky for me, I still remembered what I put in it two days later. Since I like to spread the wealth, er, I mean knowledge you guys can have the recipe too.

1 pkg. ground beef (I used 1.6 lbs but would have bought up to 2 lbs. Just don't try making it with 3/4 of a pound; chili needs meat.)
Diced onions (You can be fancy and dice your own if you'd like, I'm lazy and buy the frozen variety)
1 pkg. Williams chili seasoning (seasons 2 lbs, hence the reason you need nearly 2 lbs of hamburger)
2 cans Bush's mild chili beans
1 can Bush's seasoned kidney beans
(I have no idea what they are seasoned with, the can looked good.)
1 can petite diced tomatoes (because I don't like chunky tomatoes, if you do get bigger chunks)
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
***These 2 cans need to be pureed in a food process or blender before adding***
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes

Brown your meat with the onions and then drain the fat. While the meat is cooking puree your tomatoes. I pureed one can completely and I pulsed the second can so it wasn't tomato juice. Pour into the pan along with the seasoning and other cans of beans and tomatoes. Make sure you throw your can graveyard into the recycle bin.

Here is where it gets tricky. We had a couple of errands to run and I knew if I left the pot of chili on the stove without stirring it would turn black on the bottom and we'd have black flakes of chili floating around (don't ask how I know this.) So I decided to try out the oven proof pans I've had for 7 years... in the oven! I turned it to 300° and placed the pot (with a lid) in the oven and left the house. I really didn't know what to expect when we returned; I've never baked chili after all. The solids sank to the bottom and the juice rose to the top but one quick stir and it looked like chili again! The oven somehow changed the consistency and made it really delicious; J said it was his favorite chili ever.
I only recommend baking your chili in oven proof pans (and lids). If you put a lid in the oven that has a plastic handle it will melt; this goes for crockpot lids as well; take my word for it.

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