Five-Pepper Chili

This is a very flexible chili recipe, and can be different every time you make it. E.g., beef & kidney beans, turkey & black beans, or chicken & white beans…it’s all up to you. This will make enough for four people (or two VERY hungry ones). Can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

In a dutch oven or large pot, heat about 2 T oil over med/high until shimmering. Add:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

You’ll cook the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes, until the onion begins to get translucent and vegetables soften slightly. While they are cooking, begin adding your spices. These can be to taste, but for a good spicy chili I use:

  • ancho powder, about 2 T
  • cumin, about 1 T
  • cayenne, about ½ t
  • crushed red pepper, about 1 t
  • dried oregano, about 2 t

The pot will get dry once the moisture from the veg has cooked off; this is OK for the last minute or so, but if it seems like it’s too dry, drizzle in a little more oil. Once the veg are softened and coated in the spices, add in:

  • ground beef (or turkey*, or chicken**), about a pound

Break up the meat with a spoon as it cooks, to get all of it browned and incorporated with the veg & spices. If you’ve doubled the recipe, you may want to add the meat in two batches, so it doesn’t crowd the pot. Once all the meat is browned, add in:

  • one 14-oz can of beans, rinsed/drained (kidney, black, or white beans)

Stir until everything is well mixed, then add in:

  • one 14-oz can of crushed tomatoes

Stir to make sure everything is well blended, then cover, lower heat, and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. After about 30 minutes, taste to check for seasoning; add salt if needed, or more spices if desired. This can simmer on very low heat for up to two hours; the longer it cooks the richer the flavor will be. I would say 45 minutes is the shortest you want to cook it. About 15 minutes before serving, I like to take the lid off and let it thicken slightly. This is when I will also add:

  • about 10-12 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped

Serve with toppings of choice. Some favorites are sliced scallions, shredded cheese, sour cream, and warm tortilla chips.

*If you use ground turkey, try to get dark meat rather than turkey breast, the flavor will be much better.

**If using chicken, consider replacing the tomatoes with the equivalent amount of canned tomatillo sauce – this makes a nice, lighter tasting alternative.

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