Monday, January 2, 2012

Easy Home Style Chili

The dish I cook most often from September to March is, hands down, chili. I create a lot of different chili's. Ones with no beans, lotsa beans, tonnes of vegetables, spicy ones, smokey ones. I've made chili's with exotic mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes. I've added quinoa to my chili. Just about anything you think can go into a chili, I've added.

But most often, I make a down home, plain Jane chili. The type that almost anyone would recognize as a homemade chili, one they've had before.

You might wonder then why I think it's valuable to write a recipe that everyone really should already know? Well, what I've come to learn is that, well not everyone, and probably not most people actually know how to set out to create a pot of chili, even one that they recognize as a simple, homemade chili.

Working as a personal trainer, I'm always talking to my clients about nutrition and about cooking for themselves and their families. I'm often surprised at the lack of cooking knowledge and skill that people have. I don't mean just the men, or the teenagers, or the twenty somethings. I'm talking about the mom's. Women that are often in charge of the grocery shopping, the dinner making and sometimes (if the husband and kids are spoiled), lunch packing mom's.

That's why I think, although, some readers might view this recipe as just far too simple, I think it's a great one to include for any new to the kitchen person, looking for a hearty, satisfying recipe.

I like chili for so many reasons.

1. Chili's  very hearty, a real meal in a bowl
2. Chili gets better with time - I often make mine on football Sunday and continue to eat it right through till Wednesday.
4. Chili freezes really well. And there is something comforting to know that I've got a few litres of chili in my freezer just in case.... just in case what? I'm not really sure,... a freak snow storm leaving us trapped in our house for several days? Perhaps. Friends expectantly showing up for lunch without warning? Yes. Or a lazy Friday night when I don't want to cook, and despite the invitation, don't want to go to dinner out either.
5. I love how chili pleases almost everyone. It makes for a great moving day thank you meal - especially if you are moving in the Winter like we did. Can you say ice storm?
6. Chili changes every time you make it, depending on what you have or don't have in the house when you decide to make it.
7. Chili is what brought me to think of Sunday's in the fall as a cozy day to hang around the house, watching football and cooking.

Like I said before, my chili is a pretty standard one. The two additions that one might find interesting are the honey and the apple cider vinegar. I find the honey adds a sweetness to the chili that helps balance out the spiciness of the other flavours in the chili. I find the vinegar helps brighten and lighten up the taste and feel of the chili. Both are subtle, but both are items I always add now, and would miss them if I didn't.

Home Style Chili

*Omit the beef or turkey and you instantly have a hearty vegan dish, great for everyone, especially when you've got a vegan guest


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 green peppers, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 lg. carrots, diced
2 lg. onion, chopped
1 lg. zucchini, sliced
1 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
2-3 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can fava beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups low sodium veggie cocktail
1 tbsp. smokey paprika
1 tbsp. red chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pot. I like to use my red Le Creuset pan.
2. Add onions to the pan, and cook until translucent.
3. Add the beef or turkey to the pan and cook through. Stir often during the cooking process. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain away the extra fat.
4. Add the rest of the vegetables and cover, turn the heat to low. Cook until all the veggies are tender. About 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Add the spices into the meat and veggie mixture and turn the heat up to medium. This will help the spices fully come to life.
6. Add the all the beans, tomatoes, and veggie cocktail. Bring up the simmer.
7. After the chili has cooked for 30 minutes or so, add the honey and apple cider vinegar. Taste and then add salt and pepper.
8. Enjoy! Or cook all day long on low heat and enjoy even more later.

This post has been linked to : Traditional Tuesdays

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