Monday, December 20, 2010

211. The Best Chili, My Recipe

I loved my mother's chili and thought I knew how she made it but, I never asked her for the recipe. After years of trial and error, I figured out the formula for a great chili recipe that is equal to Mother's. This dish, which I have been making for over 35 years, uses ground beef and is less hot than many recipes.

Chili is such a versatile dish. It can be served in a bowl and accompanied by crackers or a slice of bread or it can become the base for the inventive eater who adds topping after topping until little chili is left to be seen. Chili dogs and Mexican Meat Cups (#51) are easy, fun meals that make use of chili and many potato bars serve chili as one of the favored toppings; chili also makes a delicious and comforting soup if thinned out with broth.

 In the past few years, I have learned how to preserve the sauce in jars using a pressure canner. There is something comforting about seeing all those jars of my own chili sauce lined up on the shelves. After opening a jar, I simply add beans and reheat. Chili also freezes well.

I have made my chili in huge batches for church luncheons and it has been well received. My kids have made it for their family and friends and everyone loved it...this is a great chili recipe!

Diane's Chili for a Crowd

(The recipe amounts may be decreased to make a smaller batch)

2 ½ lb. ground beef                          1 C chopped green pepper
3 Med. onions, chopped                  1 tsp salt
2 Large garlic cloves chopped fine   3 C water
3 Ribs celery – chopped fine           1, 16 oz can tomatoes, chopped
1 T cumin                                        2 large cans kidney beans, drained    
2 T or less chili powder                    (I often use light and dark beans for color variety) 
½ T oregano                                                            

Brown beef with garlic and onion together in a large pan. Pour off grease. Add all other ingredients except kidney beans. Simmer covered 1 hour. Add beans and heat through. Note: taste and adjust salt and chili powder. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Chili is one of those recipes that actually tastes better the next day.
This chili freezes well. The sauce may also be canned according to pressure canning directions. Add beans to the canned chili after opening.

Optional toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, taco chips, black olives or chopped tomato.

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