Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Chili Everyone Liked!

I have been trying different chili recipes for the last 15 years.  I have had some really good ones, some flops, and some mixed reviews, but never a 100% everyone loved it winner.  I finally found a chili that the whole family liked and demanded that there be leftovers for work and school lunches.  This was such a great response that I felt I needed to share the recipe.  It does call for one can of Ranchero beans, and I was going to try it again without those to see if it would still hold up.  Darling hubby told me not to mess with a good thing.  I think the Ranch style beans are pretty universal if it says Ranch beans or Ranchero, they should be pretty similar.  Generally it tends to be pinto beans with some tomato, cumin, chili, oregano and garlic spices.  I found the 365 organic brand on sale at Whole Foods and used that.  The chili has a little heat, but not too much for the kiddos.  My eldest had it three days in a row for four meals!
Last time I had to make a double batch to have some to freeze...  I still only ended up with three servings in the freezer!

Universally Likeable Chili
Serves 6

1-1½ lb ground beef or stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped (any sweet pepper should work fine)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz) Ranchero beans, undrained
1 can (15 oz) Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Southwest seasoning (I used Penzey's SW seasoning, or more chili powder is fine.)
1 tsp Italian seasoning (My favorite is Tuscan Sunset, also by Penzey's)
1 tsp parsely
1-2 tsp sea salt to taste
½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Cook beef, onion and pepper in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add garlic after beef starts to brown.  Cook and stir until beef is fully browned and veggies are tender.  Drain fat if necessary.  Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth or water, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes for ground beef, or an hour or more for stew meat.  Stir occasionally until the meat is tender.

Serve with taco chips or crackers on the side and top with sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, fresh chopped chives, green onions or cilantro, or whatever is your favorite chili topping.

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