Winter dinner tables tend to look a lot different at meal time than they do in summer. Come winter, people look to balance flavor with additional qualities that can chase away the chill.
In spite of its name, chili can warm anyone up quickly. Chili is often spicy, which means the dish gives off warmth in a multi-layered approach.
This recipe for “Totally Excellent Chili” from “Clueless in the Kitchen” (Firefly) by Evelyn Raab is spicy, but not too hot, and thin enough to be eaten with a spoon, but not to be mistaken for soup. Home cooks can customize the recipe further depending on their desired flavors.
Totally Excellent Chili
11⁄2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
11⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or one small fresh jalapeño pepper, minced, or both)
2 19-ounce cans red kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the ground beef with the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring to break up the clumps, until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are softened — about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt, curry powder, and cayenne or jalapeño, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring often.
2. Serve this chili sprinkled with shredded cheese and accompanied by plain rice or freshly baked corn bread. If the chili is too spicy for you, a spoonful of plain yogurt or sour cream will help cool things down.