Over Thanksgiving my Aunt and Stepfather made an amazing pot of chili as a pre-Turkey Day meal. It simmered on the stove for much of the afternoon, begging us to taste it with the mouthwatering aromas it emitted. When we finally enjoyed it that evening, after a cold day in the mountains, we were not disappointed. It was hearty, but not heavy; flavorful with a bit of a kick, but not so spicy that you could only taste the heat. It hit the spot and left you wanting more, even if your stomach was already full to the brim.
This chili recipe comes pretty close to replicating the thanksgiving version, but like all chili, every pot is open to the interpretation of the chef. Substitute, add, or subtract as you like. Make it what you love and enjoy with family and friends or simply savor it on your own with a bowl, big spoon, and corn muffins.
Chili with Chocolate
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, freshly pressed
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 t oregano
1 T chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
3 14.5 ounce cans low sodium kidney beans (light, dark, or a combination), drained and rinsed
1 c tomato sauce
1/4 c milk chocolate, roughly chopped
Shredded cheddar cheese
In a large pot, add a glug of olive oil and turn the pot on to medium or medium-high heat, depending on your stove. When the oil is hot, add the onion and peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Add the remaining spices (through pepper) and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes. Using your spoon, chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces and then bring to boil. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and chocolate and return to boil. Reduce the heat and allow the chili to simmer for at least a half an hour (but you can leave it much longer) before serving.
This chili is delicious served over rice or on its own. Top it with fresh cilantro and grated cheddar cheese. And, don’t forget the corn muffins!