My Momma’s Chili: A Fall Crowd-Pleaser
Fall is a great time to come back to your roots. With the return of structured school days and the hubbub of the holidays just around the corner, it is a time for family meals shared around the table at the end of busy days. As soon as the outdoor temperature dips below 75 degrees (…okay 80 if I’m really antsy), I make my first big pot of chili. I use the recipe my mom has always used. It’s simple, classic, and delicious. We eat it until we are almost sick of it, then I freeze the rest for a day when the craving rolls back around. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners, rainy day lunches, tailgates, or potlucks.
This annual chili preparation marks the advent of soup season in my house. Soups are easy to prepare, easy to customize, easy to freeze, and (of utmost importance to me) easy to clean up. Let me be honest about something upfront: for me, soup is all about the extras. I would probably turn my nose up at a bowl all by its lonesome, but slide over a grilled cheese, garlic bread, tortilla chips, or parmesan crisps, and I’m all in… Spoon, please!
Momma’s Classic Chili
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 packets chili seasoning (or you own combo of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper)
2 cans black beans
2 cans chili beans
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ bottle of beer, optional, but my mom swears by it
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Toppings: shredded low fat cheese, greek yogurt*, chopped green onion, whole grain crackers or tortilla chips
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Brown onion and green bell pepper. Add beef and cook until brown. Add chili seasoning to the beef mixture and mix. Pour in beans (with their liquid), tomatoes, and beer. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for as long as you can wait (give it at least an hour to get good and flavorful). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with toppings of your choice.
*I always use greek yogurt in place of sour cream in everything. My husband probably thinks they don’t make sour cream anymore… ;)