I thought I knew what chili was. Then I moved to Texas.
Now mind you, I’d never put pasta in my chili (sorry you Cincinnati folks), or at least I wouldn’t call it chili if I did. Then again, what I call chili and what you call chili might be at odds as well.
What I can tell you is this. Today we are having winter and this is what I want for lunch and possibly dinner as well.
Now understand, a central Texas “winter” often lasts no more than a day. This year they tell us it might last for two! And, I will give them this – it is coooooold outside! So I’m determined to enjoy winter food before it gets too warm again.
The good thing about my chili (and yes, I will insist on calling it that) is that you can make it quickly. Unless you insist on working with dry beans, in which case winter could be over before the chili is ready, you can fix this in an hour or so and enjoy it almost immediately. Of course it is better the next day (and even better the day after, if winter lasts that long), but it isn’t bad from the get-go.
The name’s the thing. I call this Yankee Chili. Texas chili as I understand it believes that beans are anathema. I, on the other hand, never met a bean I didn’t like. So, rather than calling it bean and burger stew or something equally cumbersome, here’s a quick and easy cold weather pick-me-up.
3/4 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped fine*
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
Brown the beef in a heavy Dutch oven. Add the onion* (see below) and cook until the onion is soft. Add the beans and tomatoes, stir well, cover and barely simmer for several hours or until you can’t stand it and have to have some.
Now, about that asterisk. When I add the onions I often add a tablespoon or so each of ground cumin and ground coriander, a pinch of cinnamon, and some salt. Spices are up to you, but I like my chili this way. Also, note there is no “heat”. Feel free to add chili powder if you like it hot. This is one of those flexible recipes – have fun!
The important thing is, stay safe and warm this season, enjoy family and friends, be healthy (note: I am not saying *eat* healthy – its the holidays, after all!) and have a wonderful start to the new year!