Spicy Beef and Three Bean Chili
Like Tailgating, Chili is somewhat of a National American Pastime.
Right up there with Grilling, there are the infamous Chili Cook-Offs and even an International Chili Society.
There are Beef Chili’s, Turkey Chili’s, Vegetarian Chili’s and many more but the one thing many seem to have in common is they are often loaded with everything except the kitchen sink.
Then in a Chili category of its own, there is also Milwaukee Chili. Now in Milwaukee, they even have ‘Chili Restaurants’ and some of these versions taste unlike anything served on the East Coast or in Southwestern parts of the country.
A favorite post sporting event one year in college was eating at the local Chili Restaurant after a Marquette University Basketball game, especially after trudging through Milwaukee snows and fifty mile an hour winds.
A unique, thinner consistency with spicy evenly packed flavor the Milwaukee Chili is one you can get with or without beans and even served on spaghetti.
On the East Coast, Chili’s often favor a thicker sauce version with ground meats and mainly one type of bean, the kidney bean. Since I cannot recall how to duplicate the Milwaukee Chili, I favor a more southwestern version in my dish, adding in beef cubes, a few types of beans, lots of spice, and lots of fresh hot chili peppers, like jalapenos.
Chili is one of those dishes I enjoy a couple of times a year when the outdoor temperatures begin to chill then linger and especially enjoy it served in bread bowls topped with melted cheese. You can order the crusty round bread bowls at most bread shops, simply cut off the top, and scoop out enough of the soft bread part to ladle in your Chili. The little bread bowls look festive and if serving to guests they can break off the crisp outer parts of the bread to eat alongside or to scoop out more chili.
Though I’ve toned down the spice a lot over the years, mostly for my grandson, the J-Dude, Spicy Chili, I do believe was my husbands first experience with this type of lively dish. It took him a half hour to finish off the bowl and I seem to remember he was also sweating profusely after finishing it off, but hey, it got him prepared for all of the wonderfully spicy culinary cuisines of his future. You can make your chili as spicy as you want by using more hot peppers, chili powder, cayenne, paprika, and hot sauce. It’s really up to your desired taste and tolerance level for the spicy.
Though I always use kidney beans, along with pink beans and chili beans in sauce in my Chili, really, you can use any number of beans that you choose and whatever types you prefer, it’s Chili, its all up to you. I typically do not use black beans when I make beef chili because they seem too dark colored for me, but they add a lovely dimension when I make a turkey or all vegetarian chili.
Many folks serve Chili at their Annual Super Bowl Parties, Using bread bowls is a nice touch to the evening buffet, and really a great pot of chili would also be fitting for any casual holiday gathering in the cool weather. You can also purchase a large rectangular bread to use as a serving dish as I show in the photograph above, though you will want to cut more in the center to pour your Chili right into the created serving bowl.
- 2 slices bacon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 -2 medium size onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2-5 fresh hot peppers. Seeded and finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, or chopped unsweetened chocolate
- 3/4 pound beef round cubes, rough cut or minced, as desired
- 3 pounds lean ground beef
- 35 ounce can plum tomatoes, cut up, liquid included
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup tomato puree
- a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, plus more if desired
- 15.5 ounce can pink beans, drained
- 19 ounce can kidney beans, drained
- 15.5 ounce can chili beans in sauce
- few pinches coarse kosher salt, plus more according to taste
- few grinds fresh black pepper
- On medium heat, begin frying bacon in a large enameled pot to render some of the fat, around three to four minutes
- Pour in the olive oil
- Tumble in the chopped onion, garlic, celery, hot peppers, and red and green chopped bell pepper and cook on very low heat, around ten minutes
- Stir in the cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne, oregano and garlic powder, cook just less than a minute
- Add in cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves and the chocolate
- Cook to blend flavors for another minute
- Add in the beef cubes and cook, stirring until meat loses its pink color, around five minutes
- Add in the ground beef and simmer on low heat for about thirty minutes, stirring now and again
- Spoon in the plum tomatoes with juices, stir through cook for ten minutes
- Pour in beef stock, stir, add in tomato puree and a few shakes of Tabasco sauce and cook mixture for another thirty minutes
- Tumble in pink, kidney and chili beans
- Continue simmering Chili for at least an hour longer on a very low temperature, sprinkle in salt and pepper, stir, and check seasoning adjusting salt to taste plus adding in more Tabasco if hotter spice is preferred
- When ready to serve, heat Chili to piping hot, top with grated cheddar cheese and melt