Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Chili

It's 8:15 pm on election night, and Jason and I just finished dinner and are glued to the TV for the results. I decided that tonight would be a good night to have some comfort food so I tried a new chili recipe. I love chili because there are so many different things you can do with it. I think the past three times I've made it I've used a different recipe each time. This recipe was from a library book, "What's for Dinner?" by Maryana Vollstedt.

I was really apprehensive after I added all of those spices... it smelled rather sweet and I was worried I would end up with something along the lines of Cincinnati-style chili, which I don't really like. But in the end, I LOVED this chili. The sweetness mellowed out as the chili simmered, and it tasted a lot like the chili that is served at the cafe at work, which I have always enjoyed.

I'm going to type out the recipe as it is printed in the book, but I want to note something that I think is key: after browning the beef and onion, I combined all of the ingredients (except for 1 can of kidney beans) in the crock pot and let it simmer on low for about six hours. I added the second can of beans (drained--the first can that I added with the rest of the ingredients was not drained) about 45 minutes before I wanted to serve the chili. I believe there is NO WAY you can get the wonderful flavor with only 30 total minutes of simmering, as the recipe indicates.

Another deviation from the recipe is that I could not find a 14.5 ounce can of whole tomatoes, so instead I used a can of petite diced tomatoes and then I didn't have to worry about chopping them. As you can see in the picture, I served the chili with cornbread. I used a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix.

The dinner was great. Let's hope the election results come out just as wonderfully.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes including juices, chopped
1 can (16 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder, plus more to taste if desired
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cans (16 ounces each) dark red kidney beans, partially drained

Grated cheddar cheese
Plain nonfat yogurt or sour cream
Chopped green onions including some tender green tops

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook meat with onion until meat is browned and onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings and mix well. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, about 20 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and pass the toppings.