September 11, 2012
Little B's Chili
The chill is officially in the air here in Vermont. It's so hard for me to accept the fact that summer is coming to an end. So many people get excited and look forward to fall, but I'm not one of them. The thought of summer ending just makes me sad. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that winter is way too long up here. Depending on the first snow and the last melt, winter can easily last 7-8 months here, sometimes with barely any fall or spring. Yes, I definitely live in the wrong state! Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Vermont, and I don't even mind the snow or winter, just not for 7-8 months. We live at the base of a mountain, so there are times when there will be flurries nonstop for over a week with no sun & 2 inches of accumulation a day.......that's when I get a little depressed and start dreaming about laying on the beach with my toes in the warm sand. Ahhh, I just love the beach.
The first thing that came to mind when I felt the chill in the air was chili. There's something about chili that makes me feel all snugly and warm, which is exactly how I want to feel when I am realizing that summer is on it's way out the door. This chili is thick and filling, so it makes for the perfect fall meal. This is my personal recipe that I came up with after years of trial and error. So, whip up some cornbread as a side dish, and kick back and enjoy this hearty fall meal!
Little B's Chili (serves 6-8)
3 lbs ground beef (or venison, which I substitute often)
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp cumin
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne (sometimes I add 2 chopped jalapeno peppers instead of using cayenne)
1 tsp soy sauce
3 1/2 cups plain tomato sauce or marinara sauce
1/2 cup beer, any kind/brand
1/2 cup water
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or whatever kind of beans your prefer, sometimes I use black beans)
In a large skillet, break up the beef and cook until cooked through. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large saucepan, and add the onion & pepper. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes, then add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes. When the meat is cooked, drain off the fat then add all of it to the onion mixture. Stir in the chili powder, cocoa, cumin, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, bay leaves and soy sauce. Add the the beans, tomato sauce, beer and water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hrs. Stir every 1/2 hr, and feel free to add more spices and/or liquid to suite your preferences. To serve, top with shredded cheddar cheese and/or sour cream.