What’s the perfect antidote to a brisk late fall breeze? Why, a hot bowl of chili and plenty of good company, of course. Hey – why not a chili party? Oh sure, there’s a little bit of do-ahead work involved the evening before, but the truth is that chili is at its best when the flavors have been allowed to mellow and merge overnight. With the cooking done ahead of time, the actual meal comes together in a snap. All you need is a large pot and a few hours to sit and watch TV while the chili stews. A basic beef chili goes like this:
4 pounds ground beef
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 can small can green chile peppers, drained and chopped
1 large 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup water or beef broth
Step one is to brown the beef. You’ll need a large pan, and you’ll need to work in batches, 1-2 pounds of beef at a time. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink and transfer it to a large pot or Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set the pot over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Cover it and reduce the heat to low and cook for 2-4 hours, adding a little extra water or broth if it gets too thick. Let it cool, then refrigerate it overnight.
With your chili prepared, the next day is easy. The only side dishes you need to lay out are a simple green salad and some corn bread (those little boxes of corn muffin mix you get at the supermarket are perfect for the job). Some people prefer to simply use corn chips, which are even easier.
Oh, and don’t forget the fixin’s! Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions and sour cream are the classics, but you can also do hot sauce, chopped chili peppers and minced cilantro.
Need we say, you’ll need to have plenty of cold drinks around? You will. Enjoy