Chili, how I learned to stop worrying and love the bean.



2 pounds fresh ground beef
1 quart tomato juice
1 (29-ounce) can tomato purée
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 medium-large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder (use less for milder chili)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (use more for real flavor)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off the fat. Put the beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. You can also cook this in a slow cooker on low for 3 to 4 hours.

OK, those that know me know I didn’t follow this to the letter. But I was close.

So what was different?

I used V8 Juice with Lime instead of tomato juice.
I substituted 3 cans of tomato sauce for the puree.
I had no pinto beans so I skipped those entirely.
I went easy on the salt because I figured the V8 had enough. I was right.
I was out of cayenne pepper so I skipped that as well.
I cooked it for about 9 hours. On really low heat. And didn’t stir it overnight.

As far as technique goes, I did one thing fairly different from how most recipes do it. When I put my ground beef in my skillet, I spread it out in the pan like a big hamburger patty. After an initial sear, I turned it way down and let it slowly brown, without stirring or breaking it up, for about 20 minutes. I then flipped it over to brown the other side. Once cooked, I turned the heat off the burner and tilted the pan to one side and move the browned meat to the upper side so it would drain. I left that setting like that just long enough to set up and then put it in the refrigerator. I let it cool until the next evening. When I took it out, I used my stainless steel spatula to remove it from the pan, I then broke the large chunks of ground beef into smaller chunks. Not so small though, i wanted this to have some texture to it. After this was done and the ground beef was in the pot, I followed the recipe save for those changes stated above.

That’s it. My co-workers cleaned my crock pot out. I guess they liked it.

If you have questions, I am happy to answer them as best I can, leave them in the comments below.

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