Chili days of November

November 2, 2009

It’s the perfect time of year for chili. I love it because it’s one of the easiest things to make and you can rarely mess it up… toss in some veggies, lots of tomatoes and beans, maybe some secret ingredients & a loaf of bread and you’ve got yourself a perfect fall meal. At least, this was Alaina’s & my train of thought as we thought about what meal we should make for Dan & Luke’s visit today (whose soccer team had a heartbreaker Saturday–but still finished 3rd in their conference!). Being the awesome girlfriends that we are, we settled on a huge pot of chili and some bread from the bread machine. Alaina tracked down this recipe online and I have to share it because it’s, well, unique to say the least. If you know Alaina & I, you might wonder what it would be like with us cooking together. The scene is somewhat ridiculous at times… here are some snippets from the kitchen:

Me: “Where did you find this recipe?”
Alaina: “famouschilirecipes.com. So I knew it had to be the real deal…”
/
Alaina: “I always like chili.”
Me: “What? You always make chili?”
Alaina: “Yes, that’s me, always slaving away over a crock of chili.”
/
Me: “Mm, so hearty.”
Alaina: “So much heart!”

Ha. I love how she chooses recipes based on the best names online–she’s making pie now, and can’t go wrong when the recipe she’s following is called “Scrumptious Apple Pie.” Speaking of names, we decided to call our chili Octoberfest Chili because of the Sam Adams Octoberfest beer we used in the recipe (yes, the recipe called for beer). Or perhaps Beer Belly Chili–we chose this alternate name based on the looks of the chili after all ingredients (including beer & refried beans) were combined. With ingredients like that, what guy wouldn’t like it?

Alaina and Margaret’s Octoberfest Chili

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lg white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 chopped red bell pepper
3 tbsp chili powder
1 can red kidney beans (drained)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can refried beans
1 jalepeno pepper
2 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup beer
1 tbsp ground cumin

In a large pot, add olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until softened. Add beer and stir well. Add tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans, stirring well to combine. Add cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir in refried beans to thicken chili. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Sadly (for me), this is not vegetarian chili–the orginal recipe didn’t call for beef but we figured the boys would appreciate it. It would be very easy to make into a great 3-bean veggie chili, though. Also, we simmered for a good 4 hours. Hmm, I’m trying to think of anything else we did differently… served with cheddar cheese and sour cream garnish, warm honey wheat bread on the side & cider, and finished off with Alaina’s apple pie and my pumpkin pie (from a can–although soon I plan to make fresh pumpkin pie from my pie pumpkins! YUM! Here’s the recipe I found to do this). The chili was heartily enjoyed. I thought it had a southwestern feel to it… delicious, all in all. Just look how happy we are!

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