Florida actually cooled down this past week. As in, the weather actually dipped into the 50’s and 60’s during the day. Shocker!
Certain foods are mandatory to make and enjoy when the weather is cold. Hot chocolate and chili are my go-to foods. It feels a bit strange to enjoy these foods when it’s 90 outside. So when the chilly temps finally reach our state, I break out the cacao powder and defrost the ground beef.
I’ve discovered that chili is a hot food topic. Some folks say that chili shouldn’t include anything but meat, tomatoes, onions, and spices. Other folks want to change things up by adding loads of veggies, like corn and carrots. And other people are partial to a heavy bean count. <–These folks are also subjected to sleeping on the couch after eating a bowl of chili ;).
I realized just how diverse chili can be after a chili cook-off at our church. I didn’t enter the competition because I was dealing with sick kids that week and didn’t want to pass on any germs. I did get to enjoy a few bowls of other people’s chili. It was quite interesting to taste each variation. Some chili was super spicy, some didn’t have any spice at all. A few of the chili options were chunky and others were more like a soup.
I would like to think that I would have won the competition if I had entered with today’s chili recipe. A recipe that is perfectly balanced between spicy but not too spicy, chunky but not too chunky, and soupy but not too soupy. The ingredients are basic, but when paired together the final result is the best stove-top chili. Definitely an award-winning chili on my score card.
The best part about this chili recipe is that you can adapt it based on your preferences. If you don’t want beans, skip them. I do this often. If you want a chunkier chili, reduce the broth amount. If you want a soupy chili, increase the broth amount. If you don’t want to use carrots, you’re out of luck. Add the orange vegetable–it’s good for you and adds a nice sweet, rustic flavor to the chili ;).
The second best part about this chili recipe is that it only takes about 40 minutes to make, give or take a few minutes for chopping and sautéing. It’s a quick and easy meal that’s hearty and nourishing.
Comforting Stove-Top Chili
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion diced (about 1 cup once diced)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 small bell pepper diced (about 1/2 cup once diced)
- 1 large poblano pepper diced (about 1/2 cup once diced)
- 4 medium garlic cloves minced
- 3 TB chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper or more to taste
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can kidney beans or cannellini beans*, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
- Dutch oven or soup pot (3 quart or larger)
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the ground beef until it just begins to brown (there will still be pink), about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, carrots, bell pepper, and poblano pepper. Saute the veggies and meat until the veggies begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic cloves and seasonings (chili powder through salt), and stir the spices into the veggies for a minute, until fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes and the juices from the can, the beans (if using), and the broth (use 2 cups for a chunkier chili and 3 cups for a soupy chili). Bring the chili to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot.
- Simmer the chili, covered, until the veggies are soft and the flavors have intensified, about 30 minutes. Taste the chili and add more salt to taste.
- Serve warm. I like to top my chili with sour cream, shredded cheddar, and lots of cilantro.