I've been meaning to make chili for awhile now. It's the perfect compliment to a good football game. Especially when the Steelers are playing. And dangit they just lost. To the Patriots. C'mon now guys.
Good thing I am not ashamed to say that I am a fair weather fan [I'm from Pittsburgh, so it's okay]. I don't pay much attention until play-offs, which means that I have a few weeks yet until I start making bets and talking up a team I know mostly nothing about. Could have fooled a lot of people - hope they aren't reading this.
So chili. Yes. Rich, bold, decadent chili. What makes any soup worth eating are the ingredients. Hands down. You just try to tell me that a chili made with grass-fed ground beef and locally harvested and dried heirloom beans is as good as the stuff with grocery variety chuck and canned legumes. It ain't.
Right now is the perfect time to try your hand. Beans are abound at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market and Rancho San Julian just replenished their supply of grass-fed ground beef [look for the green label].
For this recipe, I picked up some black beans from Roots, small pinquitos from Tom Shepherd, and threw in some red beans I had at home from last season. Honestly, any black, white and pink beans would do, but don't hesitate to ask your farmer which would be best. There are so many different varieties out there. If you're buying canned beans, pick black, white navy and kidney. But think twice. Or thrice if necessary.
The shredded Spring Hill raw milk cheddar adds a nice touch, but you could also pair this hearty chili with skillet cornbread if you so desire.
Whatever you do, enjoy it. Savor it. And share. Food is only truly enjoyed when shared with others.
three bean beef chili
2 lbs ground beef
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chili powder
1/3 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup paprika
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
3 lbs tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup dry or 2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup dry or 2 cups cooked white beans
1 cup dry or 2 cups cooked pink beans
2-3 cups water or homemade beef stock
1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter, ghee, beef fat or other heat stable fat
5 tsp celtic sea salt
Add ground beef and break up with a slotted spoon. Saute until meat is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute or two.
If using uncooked beans, add now with tomatoes and enough stock/water to cover. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook covered for 45 minutes.
If using cooked beans, add now with bell pepper and season with sea salt to taste. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Chili should be very rich - if not, add a bit more of each type of spice.
Serve topped with shredded raw milk cheddar or real sour cream.