It has been getting quite chilly here in Washington. I know lots of you already have snow and near-blizzard weather in your neck of the woods. But our summer ran a little late here this year and we are just now dipping to 30 degrees. Bear with us – we are still trying to adjust.
Today was one of those gorgeous fall days that I love – sunny, but with a bite in the air. Barely a breeze.
Definitely a day for some chili.
I learned how to make a version of this chili years ago from my then-mother-in-law. Even then, I remember how amazed I was at how flavorful – yet simple – it was, with such few ingredients. This recipe calls for absolutely no added seasonings – but has such an amazing flavor! Over time, I have tweaked it to make it my own.
When I learned how to make this, I started using Los Crusios peppers. When roasted, this is a very flavorful pepper, with moderate heat. I have only ever found them at our local Olympia Farmer’s Market – and the one vendor who gets them in, sells out quick. In the instances that I have actually found them, I always buy every single pepper they have. I then go home and fill my house with the wonderful aroma of roasted peppers. Mmmmm… When I DO get the opportunity to purchase a large amount like that, I roast them up, vacuum-seal them in packages or 7-8 peppers, and pop ’em in the freezer. However, if you can’t find these peppers (like I couldn’t today), you can certainly substitute any pepper of your liking – I have use poblano and Anaheim peppers with great success.
Simply Perfect Chili
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground elk, venison, or grass-fed beef (or ground meat of your choice)
7-8 los crusios peppers, roasted and chopped (or peppers of your choice) – 7-8 los crusios make this a moderately spicy chili
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
16 oz canned beans (I use a pint of my home-canned taco (pinto) beans, but regular canned pinto beans work just fine)
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat one or two tablespoons of olive oil (or cooking oil of your choice). Add garlic and peppers – sauté until soft and fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic – yuck!). Add ground meat and cook until browned. Add minced onions and S&P to taste.
Add tomatoes and mix well. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy the smell filling up your house. This is to make sure you are good and hungry by the time it is ready.
About 10 minutes before serving, stir in beans. If you add the beans too early, they will start to break down and become mushy. Not so great. Unless you like mushy beans – then by all means, go for it.
I like this chili just the way it is, along with a warm, buttered tortilla on the side. The rest of my fam, however, prefer it with shredded cheddar and sour cream on top. Whatever floats your boat. Either way, it is a pretty kick-ass chili.
This post can also be found on the Homestead Barn Hop!