Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three Bean Chili

First prepared December 25, 2009. A Family Favorite and SIGNATURE DISH. A few things distinguish the recipe: Use of three beans, the high meat content, large meat pieces, and low tomato content. Looks pretty, is delicious, and packs a wallop nutritionally.
1 T vegetable oil
2 lbs lean ground beef 
2 c yellow onions, coarsely diced
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 T ground cumin
1 t Mexican oregano
1/4 t (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c dry red wine
1 can each (15 to 19 oz) black, pinto, and cannellini beans, undrained (Bush™ is good)
1 7-oz can chopped green chilies (Ortega™ is good)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
about 1 c tomato juice (or water) as needed to thin
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers in a heavy dutch oven. Brown meat, about 8 minutes. Cut it into 1/2 inch lumps as it cooks. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until clear but not brown. Add the herbs and tomato paste, and lightly cook them. Add the wine and reduce until evaporated. Add the tomatoes, chilies, and beans, scrapping the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Add the juice (or water) to adjust the thickness. Simmer covered for two hours, gently stirring every 1/2 hour or so. Season to taste. We like some heat but add more red pepper flakes if you prefer hotter. Yields 6 to 8 servings, over steamed rice or boiled spaghetti.
Toppings: finely-chopped sweet or red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, Louisiana hot sauce, and tomato salsa all step up the taste.