Oh, and I said easy--but the healthier way is to use dry beans, so it's a little more time-consuming but oh, so worth it!
Here are the ABCs of chili.
2 cups dry beans (any kind, one or a variety)
2 large onions, chopped
2 green peppers, diced
2 pounds ground beef
32-oz. diced tomatoes (or 3 14-oz. cans)
16-oz. tomato sauce
3 tablespoons (or more to taste) chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 bay leaves
Place dry beans in a large pot; cover with cold water and let sit overnight. The next day, drain the beans and rinse. Re-cover with cold water, bring to boil on stovetop, then simmer until tender, 1-3 hours depending on the type of beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
Important: If you are using different kinds of beans (black, pinto, kidney), I suggest you use a separate pot to soak/simmer each kind. I find that while pintos and kidneys will become tender after an hour or so of simmering, black beans can take up to two or three hours. I use all three kinds in this recipe, so I have three pots going on the stove. :)
Brown the onion, green pepper, and meat in a large stock pot; drain when the meat is cooked. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer one to two hours, adding reserved bean liquid if needed. Don't add the liquid in the beginning of the simmer time; wait until the veggies check after 45 minutes or an hour. The veggies cook down nicely and I usually don't have to add extra liquid. You can also adjust the seasoning at this time--add more chili powder, or some pepper, if you like. Taste it first, though!
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, olives, etc. Cottage cheese makes a great topping, too!
Now comes the fun part! When you add all the ingredients to the meat mixture, consider adding:
- black olives
- shredded carrot (or chunks!)
Most any veggie can be added to this chili. Don't want meat? Leave it out! Don't like onion or green pepper? Leave it out! Want chicken instead of beef? Use ground chicken, or cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into chunks, and cook it up with the veggies. Simple!
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