Normally I wait until cold weather to make soup or stew or even chili, but for some reason, this morning when I woke up, homemade chili was exactly what I wanted to eat for dinner. Now, we all know that there are thousands upon thousands of recipes for chili, from meaty versions to vegetarian versions (though for me, I prefer the meat in). I’ve made it countless of ways myself, ranging from the very tomato-y version my mother and sister always made, heavy with chili powder and a touch of cumin…to versions with less chili powder and cumin but more curry powder. But the recipe I have settled on is one I made up in the winter of 2009 before I moved from Corpus Christi to San Marcos. I think it’s the most flavorful version of chili I’ve ever made, and it’s extremely simple to throw together. It doesn’t even take very long, unless, of course, you want to make the pinto beans from scratch by sifting through dry beans, soaking them over night then cooking them until they’re ready to be made into chili.
I didn’t take as many “in process” photos, but really once you’ve browned the hamburger and drained the grease away, everything goes into it, and there aren’t particular “ways” it’s supposed to look different.
1-2.5 lbs hamburger (preferably 80/20 if not leaner)
1/2 of a large onion, chopped up
2 Roma tomatoes (or 1 large tomato), chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped
2-5 cloves of garlic, minced (best to mince this by hand as garlic presses make you lose a lot of the garlic flavor)
1-2 cans pinto beans (do not drain)
2-5 tbsp ground chipotle in adobo sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
On high temperature on stove and in a pot:
1. Brown hamburger until it’s done. Add in some salt and pepper and stir. Drain off the grease into a coffee can or glass jar.
2. Add in chipotle and stir around until the meat is coated.
3. Add in both cans of pinto beans with liquid inside. Add extra water as needed.
4. Add in garlic, onions, jalapenos and tomatoes and stir in well.
5. Add more salt to taste, stir.
6. Turn heat down to low-medium or low and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend in.
7. Cook rice (or perhaps cornbread or even tortillas, whichever you prefer to go with the chili).
8. Serve chili over rice (if that’s what you’ve made).
As a note, if you want the chili to be thicker (as I normally do, but this batch came out with more ‘soup’ to it), you can either not add as much liquid in the beginning or add in a can of refried pinto beans to thicken it. Don’t add flour since this isn’t really a stew. But I learned the trick ages ago about adding in the refried beans, and it’s amazing. It thickens it but keeps the flavor, and you don’t wind up with clumps that flour can sometimes cause.