Who doesn’t love chili in the fall and winter? This dish is a staple in our home once the leaves on the trees start to change colors. I grew up with a similar version my mother made. I have tweaked her recipe slightly by adding more of a variety of beans. It is so easy to throw together. The longer it simmers on the stove or in a crockpot, the better it tastes. It even makes great leftovers, so I always make a lot. You can make it super healthy or heap on the toppings for a “free day” treat.
1lb extra lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef*
1 large onion
5 stalks celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-2 medium jalapenos (depending on how spicy you want it)
2 28oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 15oz can white beans
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can pinto beans
1 25oz can dark red kidney beans
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (can be omitted if you want a mild chili)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (can be omitted if you want a mild chili)
1 12oz lager beer
Plain 2% Greek yogurt
Fritos® corn chips
Chopped green onions
First, you must prep several ingredients. Peel and dice the onion. Wash and dice the celery. Wash, deseed (if you want a milder jalapeno flavor), and finely chop the jalapenos. If you have fresh garlic, peel and mince 4-5 cloves. (For ease, I used jarred, pre-minced garlic.)
Next, heat a large pot on the stove to medium-high heat, and add the oil. Once the oil is hot (you’ll know when it sizzles if you put a drip of water in), add the onions, celery, jalapeno, red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté the vegetables and spices for a few minutes until the onions and celery become translucent. Add the ground meat, crumble and brown.
Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Stir and cook with meat until thoroughly combined.
Now, open all the cans. Drain the white beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans. Do not drain the tomatoes and black beans. You’ll need the liquid from the tomatoes for cooking, and the starchy liquid from the black beans will help thicken the chili.
Add all of the cans of tomatoes and beans to the pot. Then, add the beer. Bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Let pot simmer for anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours (stirring occasionally). The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Give the chili a taste halfway through cooking to check salt level. If it needs more, add more (a little at a time).
Once you are ready to serve, you have an abundance of choices for toppings. If you want a healthier chili, top with Greek yogurt, a few slices of avocado, chopped green onions, and pepper sauce. If you are splurging, add shredded cheese, sour cream, Fritos®, and pepper sauce. The combinations are up to you.
*Vegan option: Omit the meat and dairy toppings. There are so many beans in this chili, you will never miss it.
Healthy Leftover Idea: Preheat oven to 350˚. Add 1 cup quinoa to remaining chili, and bring to a boil on the stove. Lower heat to simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes (stirring occasionally) until quinoa has completely absorbed the liquid and thickened the chili. Put mixture into halved and hollowed sweet bell peppers. Top with cheese (optional) and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are tender. Serve and enjoy!