Here in the Midwest, everybody and their mother, aunt, and grandmother has their own chili recipe. And depending on where you go in the Midwest, classic chili takes on different characteristics. Some leave out the beans. Some serve it over noodles. And others go heavy on the veggies. It just depends on what you grew up with. Growing up I loved my mom’s chili. It was consistently great because she never changed her recipe! I think one of the things that made it so tasty is that she used those yummy processed canned chili beans (yeah…you got it…the ones with the MSG, corn syrup and artificial flavors). But you guys know me a little bit better than that by now. I’ve got my own updated version (sans canned chili beans), that is as close in flavor as I can get to my mom’s recipe, but equally delicious (maybe even tastier…but don’t tell her that).
When I make this recipe, I make it in the largest pot I have! I make enough to feed a small army (if you know my husband, you might say that he’s a small army in and of himself). One of the wonderful things about chili is that it is a complete meal in just one pot! There’s no need to dirty up a bunch of dishes. And because chili is one food that freezes beautifully, we get three full meals out of this one big pot. We eat it the first day. Then, I cool the rest and freeze it in the proportions I want, either in mason jars or Ziplock bags. Then when I have a really busy day or I just don’t feel like cooking, I can just pull out one of the portions, defrost it, and I have an instant dinner ready to go!
So I’m about to state what I think should be fairly obvious to most people. Use dried beans when possible. I know I know. I hear you. It’s a pain. Do they really need to be soaked overnight? If you’re like me, you usually don’t think about what’s for dinner the night before, right? I completely get it. But honestly, beans are a legume that really benefit from soaking. Beans contains an anti-nutrient called phytic acid that binds up the vitamins and minerals in the beans so that we are unable to absorb them. Beans also contain lectins, which make them very difficult for us to digest. When you soak the beans overnight, you reduce the phytic acid and lectin content, making them easier to digest, and increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients. So for the purposes of this recipe, I’ll suggest that you use dried. But when you’re in a pinch, I understand using canned (don’t get it twisted….I do it too).
- 2 tbsp grass fed ghee, like this
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers (any color), chopped
- 2 lbs grass fed ground beef
- 2 28 oz cans organic fire roasted diced tomatoes. I like this kind.
- ½ lb organic dried pinto beans (soaked overnight in water)
- ½ lb organic dried black beans (soaked overnight)
- ½ lb organic dried kidney beans (soaked overnight)
- 6 tbsp chili powder
- 4 tbsp cumin
- 4 tbsp coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- sea salt and pepper
- Heat your ghee in the biggest dutch oven you have (I use this one) over medium heat on the stove top.
- Add ground beef to the pot and let it brown- 2-3 minutes.
- Add the diced onion, garlic and bell pepper to the pot and season generously with sea salt and pepper. Let saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the spices to the pot and stir them around. Let them toast for 2 minutes. This will wake the spices that have been sleeping in their jars!
- Add the diced tomatoes to the pot.
- Drain and rinse your beans that have been soaking overnight. If you use canned, drain and rinse those also.
- Stir to combine. Season with sea salt and pepper again.
- Put the lid on and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes, but as long as you like. Check to see if the beans have cooked after about 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Like I said, this recipe makes a TON of chili. If you don’t want to make this much, you can halve the recipe. Also, I LOVE to add a splash of apple cider vinegar into it when I eat it. It’s fantastic! My two-year old loves some plain kefir swirled in to cool it off. And cilantro is a fantastic addition at the end. Enjoy!
If you like a less traditional chili, try my No-Bean Sweet Potato Chili!
Do you have a favorite chili recipe?
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