Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Best Chili Recipe Ever

This recipe is great because it can be made vegetarian or with meat; with beans or without.  It's basically just a base of a recipe that I alter each time I make it depending on what I feel like having.  Additionally, you can make this recipe on the stove and let it simmer for 1/2 or you can get super-delicious and turn it into a slow cooked meal. Slow-cooking meat makes it so incredibly tender you can cut it with a spoon.

The main components of this dish are chipotles and brussel sprouts. Yup, you heard that correctly... brussel sprouts. They give a nice contrast to the meaty, smoky flavor of the chili and help temper a bit of the heat from the chipotle peppers. They are a huge part of why this chili is sooooo amazing.

I cook my chili in a dutch oven -this way I can cook it stovetop then move it into the oven if desired.  Yes, a dutch oven can be expensive but it is a lifetime purchase that will pay off over and over again for slow-cooking stews, short ribs, pot roast, chili, bread, etc.


1 package of stew beef
olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
chili seasonings (chili powder, cumin, paprika, etc.)
3-4 dried chipotles, DO NOT CHOP
brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in 1/2
1 28-32 oz can diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
1 can of rinsed and drained beans (optional)
water as needed

Add 3 dried chipotles to a mug of very hot water to soak.  [Do not cut the chilis or you will have extremely hot chili!] Let the chilis soak while you start making the chili.
Heat up the dutch oven and add 1T of olive oil to it.  Once the oil is nice and hot add the steak to the pan and brown it off.  Do not crowd the pan or the steak will steam, not brown.  If you need to do it in two batches then do so.  Get the meat all browned off and let the pan get brown (but if you smell burning then turn down the heat and add a bit more oil or water to keep it from scorching).  After all the meat is browned move it to a bowl for later.  Add a bit more oil if needed and toss in the chopped up onion and brown.  At this point you  may want to add a bit of water to the pan and scrape up all the (tasty) brown bits at the bottom of the pan from the meat (you are basically de-glazing the pan).  Add the red/yellow peppers and stir for a minute or two then add the meat back into the pan.  At this point you'll want to season everything with your spices (salt, pepper, adobe chili powder are my constant go-to's with chili).  
Once everything seems incorporated then add the brussel sprouts, can of tomatoes, chipotle chilis WITH the soaking water and stir.  If you need to add more water to the pot then do so.  [Important, if you are planning on slow-cooking this chili then you should def. add more water]. 
Bring the whole mixture to a boil on the stove.
If you are not doing the slow-cook method then once it comes to a boil add a can of rinsed and drained beans (optional) and then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 mins until all the flavors have come together.  
For the slow-cooker method once the mixture has come to a boil cover and put the pot in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.  Be sure to check it every hour to give it a stir and see if you need to add more liquid. If you want beans in your chili then add a can of rinsed and drained beans to the pot 1/2 hour before it's done.  All the flavors should have melded and the meat should break apart without a knife.  At this point you may want to remove the chipotle chili's from the dish so that you don't accidentally bite into one and burn the heck out of your taste buds.
Scoop the brussel sprout chipotle chili deliciousness into a bowl and top your chili with your fav chili toppings... because there is so much flavor in this chili I tend to keep it simple and top it with guacamole.  Also delicious is squeezing some fresh lime juice over the top (helps cut the heat a bit too!).

If you need a more structured recipe then here is the original recipe that I've based mine on.  Just adapt it to your own liking!

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