Kicking off Chili week!

Is it even possible to have a favorite chili?  It’s a bit like a vacation dilemma: do I return to the idyllic island where I had the best week of my life or do I open that email about the new winter cruise or — or– or– so many possibilities… And so it is with chili, the old favorites vs. new and appealing recipes or ideas.  I have several of the former and even more of the latter, so this week is hereby declared Frills Chili Week! Read More

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Kicking off Chili Week!

Is it even possible to have a favorite chili?  It’s a bit like a vacation dilemma: do I return to the idyllic island where I had the best week of my life or do I open that email about the new winter cruise or — or– or– so many possibilities… And so it is with chili, the old favorites vs. new and appealing recipes or ideas.  I have several of the former and even more of the latter, so this week is hereby declared Frills Chili Week!

Entry # 1:  Bean and steak chili.  This is rich and beefy, with a nice tomato and onion flavor, decently spicy but still kid friendly.  It gets better the next day and it freezes very well, so it’s a great meal to take to a family with a new baby or otherwise in need of a pick-me-up.

The beans called for can be any type of bean you like or have on hand.  Black is particularly yummy and flavorful.

Beefy Beany Chili

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  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 lbs. beef sirloin, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 4  (14 1/2 oz.) cans of beans, black, pinto or other combination

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat until the onions are golden.  Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and cocoa powder.  Simmer, uncovered, until the beef is tender, about two hours.  Add beans and cook through.  If too thick, thin with extra broth.

Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese or chives if desired.   Freezes well.

beefy beany chili closeup 2


Soup on the stove… Ham bone soup

There was a fleeting little tease of spring weather the  other day and it was unexpected and of course wonderful.  But now we are back to bluster, cold, rain and wind, and will have to get our warmth from a pot of soup rather than the sun.  Here is an adaptation of a wonderful recipe from the New York Times a few years ago.  It uses up a leftover ham bone, and is full of fiber, green vegetables and flavor.  The bacon could be eliminated to save fat and calories but it sure does add a wonderful smokiness, and besides a little indulgence can also brighten up a grey day. Read More