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A Little Chili

I don’t know anything about chili, and I don’t have a chili recipe of my own.

Homemade chili

At least, I didn’t, until my March issue of Cooking Light arrived. Because as it happens, five people (well, including me) sampled the enormous pot of chili I made, and they (including me) raved about it and ate it all up. So this recipe is now the recipe I make when I make chili. Which I will probably do a million times this summer. Because it’s very good, and cheap, and easy, and seems to be relatively healthful: plenty of beans and veggies; minimal red meat, fat and sodium.

Homemade chili

I didn’t change much about the Cooking Light recipe, not that you asked. I added three whole jalapenos rather than one and a half, roasted all my peppers under the broiler, used homemade broth and tomato sauce (maybe a little less of the latter than the recipe called for), and added a can of black beans and an extra can of roasted tomatoes. Oh, and I added some seasoning, like a pinch of cinnamon and allspice, a little bacon salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper when I realized my extra-jalapeno idea hadn’t given it the kick I’d expected. These were all minor alterations. Otherwise, it’s exactly the same. And it is good. Very, very good.

I’d like to describe what’s good about it, but I don’t have much of a chili vocabulary. I became determined to learn to like chili a year or two ago, after a lifetime of being not-much-of-a-bean-person. I definitely go to popular local chili cookoff events and try everything they have even if it smells like chocolate or has pineapples in, and although my education has gone swimmingly in that regard, I haven’t really gotten to the chapter where you learn to talk about chili. But it’s good, this recipe, because… of the… taste. It tastes like peppers and it’s not too tomatoey. And the meat, there’s some meat but not a lot, maybe just enough meat, and the beans are… good. Good beans.

Man, I don’t know. I really liked it, other people really liked it, I’m looking forward to making it again, and if you aren’t already married to a chili recipe as people apparently tend to become, you should definitely try this one because it’s good.

Homemade chili

Serve over white rice for maximum awesomeness, with cheddar cheese and sour cream options. It’ll be… good. Very good.

Note: My personal alterations to this recipe are very minor, because it’s a great recipe and doesn’t need changing. For the sake of thoroughness, I will nonetheless mark the recipe with the minor changes I made. [My notes will look like this.]

Poblano-Jalapeno Chili

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 jalapeno peppers [Kristina used 3]
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped seeded poblano chile (about 2 large) [See Step 1]
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 12-ounce Mexican beer (such as Corona)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained [Kristina used regular light red kidney beans, but balanced it by using homemade chicken broth with zero added salt]
  • [1 15-oz can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed — Kristina added this]
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained [Kristina used 2]
  • 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup, packed)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Added step: Before chopping, slice peppers lengthwise and roast under a broiler until the skin begins to turn black.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean.
  3. Remove and discard seeds and membranes from 1 jalapeño [or don’t!]; finely chop both jalapeños. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add jalapeños, onion, poblano, and garlic; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beer; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 12 minutes or until half of liquid evaporates. Add chili powder, cumin, and salt; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beef, marinara, broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro.

Recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.