Updated November 20, 2011 to include a link to the hush puppy recipe and photos that were lost in the transfer to the new site. Happy Halloween people! Before you get the kids out the door to help them capture the largest share of candy in the neighborhood, it might be a good idea to put a hearty, rib-sticking meal in their stomach. My two-bean chili is a great recipe that keeps little ghosts and goblins full and happy.
It's not often I divulge some of my favorite and best recipes, but I want to share my chili with the masses. This recipe is an evolved version of my mother's "recipe," but neither of us have ever written this down. It's one of those things we just know how to make. So from time to time I make changes, omit something, or add something, but this is the recipe as I made it most recently.
Justin's Famous Two Bean Beef Chili
INGREDIENTS 2-3 pounds of 80-90% lean ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey, but you will need to add approximately 3-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil) 1 Large Red Onion, chopped 3 tbsp of fresh garlic, minced 1 cup of diced green onions (2-3 supermarket bunches) 2 cups of fresh cilantro (1-2 supermarket bunches of fresh Cilantro) 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 2 cups Goya Black Beans (blue label, from the can) 2 cups Goya Red Kidney Beans (blue label, from the can) 1 28-ounce Hunts Whole Tomatoes can (do not use Contadina!) 2 29-ounce Hunts Tomato Sauce cans (do not use Contadina!) 1 cup of Daisy Sour Cream 1 cup of original RO*TEL-brand diced tomatoes and green chilies 1-4 Serrano peppers, cut into 1/8 wide pieces (substitute less-hot jalapeños; both are optional)
SPICES FROM McCORMICK GOURMET 3 tbsp Ground Cumin 6 tbsp Chili Powder 1 tbsp Garlic Powder 4 tbsp Smoked Paprika 2 tsp Ground Cayenne Red Pepper 2 tsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (Salt to taste. You can always add but never remove salt from a dish) 1 tbsp Coarse Black Pepper (freshly ground is best; I disagree with reviewer about his opinion of the salt.)
Total estimated cooking time: 3 hours
In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry spices and spread evenly in a large pan bringing the heat up to sweat the spice mix. This will help release moisture in the spices and add a subtle smokiness to the chili—very similar to the process of creating a proper Cajun roux. After about 3 minutes of heating, add beef and brown. Once your meat is brown, but still pink in the middle, remove from heat and drain half of the fat and juices—save some for flavoring. Heat up your stock pot and toss your chopped onions and minced garlic in the pan. After a minute or so, toss in the beef and the remaining juices.
Now, in no particular order, add the RO*TEL, canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, serrano peppers, and 1 cup of chopped cilantro. For each can of tomatoes/tomato sauce, add one can of water. I just fill the cans up with warm water and add to the pot. Bring the chili to a boil, stirring occasionally. [Now is when you would prepare the hush puppies.] Keep chili boiling uncovered for at least one hour. The objective is to boil the chili down. Let simmer uncovered for an additional hour. Then the chili is ready to serve. You may continue to simmer covered for up to one additional hour, but if it will be longer before you eat it is best to turn the heat off.
I usually turn the chili off 20 minutes prior to serving to allow it cool while I prepare the sides. With each bowl of chili, add (in this order) a healthy-sized dollop of sour cream, a big sprinkle of cilantro, lots of cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of diced green onions. Voila! The perfect rib-sticking chili.
SPECIAL NOTE: This recipe can be made as far ahead as one day before it will be eaten for the first time. If I know that I don't want to slave in the kitchen with guests, then I will start the chili in the morning and sit on the stove (with the gas turned off) for as many hours as needed before dinner—a trick my mom taught me. But no matter when you decide to make my chili, you will need at least two solid hours of simmering time for all the flavors to come together.
For my super awesome and amazing hush puppy recipe, check it out here: Justin's Famous Hush Puppies
Check out more photos from this delicious dinner on my Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinschuck/tags/chili/