With all of the ice, snow and cold wind buffeting much of the United States lately, it's an ideal time for a big, warm bowl of homemade chili. At least, that's what we were thinking around the Mother Earth News office, which is why we recently had an office-wide Chili Cook-off, with prizes for Best, Hottest and Most Authentic.
Below you'll find the winning recipes (plus a couple more that were too good to pass up). We hope a little chili might make things seem a little less chilly in the coming days. But even if you live in a sunny spot in California, you're sure to find at least one recipe to love from this collection. So grab a crock pot, gather your ingredients and get cooking!
Best Tasting: 'Southwest Chorizo Chili'
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 links Spanish chorizo sausage, diced (about 6 1/2 oz.)
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
3 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 8-1/2 oz. can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chiles (finely chopped), 1 3/4 cups onion, bell peppers, garlic, and chorizo; saut? 5 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next seven ingredients (chili powder through corn), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate, salt and black pepper.
Best Tasting Runner Up: 'The Deuce'
1 pound beef seasoned with onions, cumin, beef bullion, chili powder and a tiny bit of garlic
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can mild sauce chili beans
1can medium sauce chili beans
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
Most Authentic: 'The Winner'
2 pounds ground beef (you can use up to 93 percent lean)
4 cans Mrs. Grimes chili beans
2 cans tomato sauce
Williams chili seasoning
Tabasco sauce to taste
Black pepper to taste
Onion powder to taste
Garlic powder to taste
You can also add red pepper flakes to heat it up.
Brown hamburger, drain. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. With the lid on, simmer the chili on medium heat until it thickens, usually about 15 to 20 minutes. Makes for a great chili dog!
Hottest: 'Carne Asada Sure 'Nuff'
This is a quick version of a traditional Northern New Mexico dish. Douse the meat with flour and brown it first and then cook it very slowly in a roasting pan in the oven.
1 1/2 to 2 pounds chuck roast (or use a pork roast and it becomes Carne Adovado)
2 tbsp garlic, chopped
Several tbsp dried medium-heat red chili flakes (from the Hispanic foods section), to taste
And/or several tbsp red chili powder (also from the Hispanic foods section)
And/or 2 to 3 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
And/or 1 to 2 chipotle chilies
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend (or oregano)
2 tsp concentrated chicken bouillon (or use beef bouillon)
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Put the entire chuck roast in a crock pot (you might have to cut it up a little, but don't worry about making it into bite-sized pieces yet). Cover with water or chicken broth. Add garlic, then add chilies. It's easy to add more, so start with less chili and add to taste. Keep in mind when adding salt that the bouillon can be pretty salty on its own.
Stir to make sure the liquid gets underneath the meat. Turn the crock pot on low and go away for a few hours (8 or so). Drop by and stir it every now and then and to test the flavor, adjusting as you go. When the meat is well-done and tender, take two forks and shred it into bite-sized pieces.
Usually served on tortillas with a bit of sour cream. The sour cream isn't traditional, but it tones down the heat a little and tastes fabulous.
1 pound hamburger
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 8 oz. cans kidney beans
Chili powder to taste (approximately 3 to 4 tbsp)
Brown hamburger, sprinkling generously with onion salt. Drain. Combine hamburger, tomato sauce, kidney beans and chili powder in a crock pot and simmer until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve with crackers or cornbread. Yields about 8 to10 servings.
Southwest Chipotle Chili
3 tbsp butter/margarine
3 chicken breasts, cubed
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
4 to 5 cans Great Northern beans
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
As much chili powder as you want
1 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp basil (or more)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (to taste)
Melt butter in stock pot, add chicken and cook thoroughly. Add onion and garlic, saut? until light brown. Add beans and chicken broth, then the remainder of the ingredients. Bring to boil then simmer as long as possible, at least 40 minutes.
Do you make a mean chili? Share your chili recipes (if you can) and cooking tips in the comments section below.