Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ground beef chili - a lazy daisy favorite

It's always a big deal in our house.  Around mid-September I can be found watching the weather closely for that first day it's predicted to drop low enough.  Once spotted, I anxiously visit the store and, in a flurry, quickly gather tomatoes, beans, ground beef, onion...  We open the doors and windows to bring down the temps a bit more, and then crank up the stove with my big, red stockpot happily sitting on top.

I'm talking chili-makin' time, if you can't guess. 

Last Saturday was one of those days that everyone should have.  Flag football on a crisp Saturday morning, an afternoon of knocking out chores, a walk on the greenway with the faithful dog, and an evening of simmering goodness resulting in the best bowl of chili while watching college football.  How in the world do people live in regions that don't have seasons?!?  I don't know what I'd do without Fall!

In my humble, humble opinion, this is the best chili recipe.  Not that I'm any connoisseur, but it was a staple in my house growing up, and I loved the way Mom made it.  Hers never had too many beans, it was chocked full of beef, and the soup itself had the perfect blend of flavorful tomato tang with a slight sweetness.  Come the first fall of our marriage, I searched for a recipe I thought would take me back to my childhood, and this one hit the nail on the head.  We've been enjoying it now for 15 years. 

As you take a look at the recipe, its length might be initially overwhelming.  Don't let it keep you from following through.  It is worth every second.  The only adaptation I make is adding a little brown sugar at the end.  

I wish I had a way of photographing this to do it justice.  I'm just not great at the picture-taking part of blogging yet.  So, you're gonna have to trust me.  And the next time the weather forecast is calling for a high in the upper 60's, low 70's, you have a plan… use it.

Ground Beef Chili - makes 16 servings  
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth, undiluted
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. steak sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. browning sauce, optional
  • Additional chopped onion, shredded cheese, and sour cream, optional

~ In a stockpot, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and celery over medium heat until meat 

    is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain.

~ Stir in the beans, tomato puree, salsa, tomatoes, broth, water, seasonings and browning 

    sauce if desired. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until 
    chili reaches desired thickness. 

~ Garnish with chopped onion, shredded cheese, and sour cream, if desired. 

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home.