There are many different types of chili – with beans, without beans, with ground meat, with meat chunks, beef or pork …the list goes on. The goal for this chili is that it be simple and straightforward to make with interesting spices, lots of vegetables, and some beans. Not too many beans so that it’s really carby, but enough so that there is a bean or so in every bite. I also wanted to use easily available ground spices and no esoteric chilis that are unobtainable in Hawaii and anyway are so spicy that they need chopping with protective hazardous material equipment covering my hands.
The basis for this recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve upped the spices and added ones that are less common to chili – most notably a little cinnamon. The cinnamon adds depth to the flavor without really being identifiable. Everyone loved it.
I was able to sneak 2 bunches of nutritious Swiss chard into the chili without it interfering at all with the authentic chili flavor.
To me, the fun of chili is in the condiments. I like to serve it with avocado, tomatoes, sharp cheddar, and sour cream. The last time I served it I did something that my guests thought was fun with the avocados – I served a plate of halved, scored, avocados that were still in the skin. People scooped out their own avocados on top of the chili. It made for a nice presentation.
Stay tuned next week for my really delicious, fluffy, low carb, gluten free corn bread. It goes great with this chili!
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 bunches Swiss chard, stems sliced into 1/4" thick pieces, leaves chopped into about 1-2" pieces (keep stems and leaves separate)
- 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped fine or pressed through a garlic press
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional but delicious)
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (can substitute ground dark meat turkey)
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- sea salt
- 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or the equivalent sprouted and home cooked
- Heat oil or butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Add bell pepper, Swiss chard stems and garlic. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Add all the spices and herbs and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes.
- Add beef, breaking up pieces, and cook until beef is no longer pink and beginning to brown.
- Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add beans and continue to simmer for 1 more hour, stirring occasionally. Remove cover for last hour if chili seems like it has too much liquid in it. If chili seems too dry and is sticking to the bottom, add a little water (1/2 cup or so).
- Add Swiss chard leaves for last 15 minutes of cooking. Stir in and wilt.
- Chili should be rich and dark and slightly thickened when done. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
- Serve with condiments such as diced tomatoes, diced avocado, grated jack or cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream.
- May be made 2 days ahead and kept covered and chilled. Heat gently before serving.