Beef and Bean Chili

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Well, we’ve come and gone from our winter getaway.  Sun, warmth and peace was had and, much to my dismay, winter greeted us back home with a big, fat hello.  Every year we go away around this time.  And every year as we are sitting on the beach the sun soaks all of its optimism into my body. We talk about how the winter will always be so much more bearable if we make it a priority to get away somewhere warm for a short time.  And how we aren’t even sure if we could live in a place so consistently warm all year around.  How much we love the seasons change in Minnesota.   And how our winters are really not that bad.  And then it happens.  The airplane lands back in our home state.  As we are walking off the plane we get just a quick glimpse of reality, of what we are coming back to.  That cold air.  The howling wind.  And I immediately feel the need to…well, vomit.  I try to break free of my husbands hand and run back to the plane.  Please, warm weather!  Take me back!  I could, in fact, live in your warmth all year round!  I could!  I did not mean what I said…I HATE the seasons change…its not even an ounce exciting! And our winters?  No, they are really not that bad…they are AWFUL!  AWFUL!!! I’ll do anything! Please airplane…please…take me baaaaaaackkkkkk!  And as my husband literally drags me through the airport and back home my brain is just rolling trying to figure out how I could get everyone I love in Minnesota to relocate to a tropical island with me.  You gotta have goals, guys.  Reach for the stars.

On a positive note, soups and stews are back on the stove.  This chili is whats happening tonight and it occurred to me I don’t think I have ever shared the recipe with you.  Chili comes in all shapes, flavors and forms but this is the only classic chili recipe I use in my kitchen.  Its simple, quick and full of smokey, savory, spicy flavor.  It’s like 80 degrees and sunny in a bowl 😉

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Beef and Bean Chili

inspired by Bon Appetit, September 2002

Note:  If you don’t want a lot of heat in your chili feel free to leave out the jalapeño.  The 2 Tablespoons listed below makes for a medium heat chili.

Ingredients

1 3/4 Pounds Lean Ground Beef

1 Large Red Onion, diced

6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Seeded Jalapeño, optional

1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

2 Cups Crushed Tomatoes

2 Cups Beef Stock

2 Cans Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

Shredded Cheddar, for topping

Sour Cream, for topping

Sliced Green Onion, for topping

Chopped Cilantro, for topping

Directions

Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the ground beef and onion and cook, breaking up with the back of the spoon, until the beef is browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.  Stir in the tomato paste.  Add the crushed tomatoes, beef stock and beans and bring to a simmer.  Simmer over medium low heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and green onion.  Serves 4-6.

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