I know, here we are in summer and you’ll want to know why would I share my favorite recipe for chili. Chili is usually a cold weather app or meal enjoyed with a good glass of wine or a cold beer.

Someone was bringing dinner over to my house the other night and was bragging about this certain restaurants chili. I told them to bring me a bowl and although it was 90 degrees out I enjoyed the taste of chili. It was a fair recipe that the restaurant had but it was still a nice change to the light and cold fare we were eating every night.

As a result, I ask you to try a little chili on a night you may have a few friends over. Serve the dish with a cold beer, sangria or white wine and a good cornbread.

The great thing about chili is that if you make a big pot, once cooled, the leftovers can be stored in the freezer and ready for you after the beach or ski slopes.

Enjoy my chili and let me know how you like it.

You'll need:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
2 cups medium onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced or pressed garlic (approx. 6 medium cloves)
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 dash cinnamon
freshly ground pepper to taste (I like lots!)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef (or 3 lbs. of sliced sirloin steak in chunks)
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (28 oz.) tomato puree
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste (yes, again!)
½ cup chicken broth (only if chili starts to stick to the bottom of pan)

How to put it together:

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, cinnamon, freshly ground pepper and cayenne.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add beef if you are using sirloin chunks. Add all the beef at this time cooking until seared on the outside all the way around. If you are using ground beef then add half the amount breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Do the same for remaining half (just easier in stages).

Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally. If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth and continue to simmer until beef is tender and chili is rich and dark.

Adjust seasoning for your taste.Slow Cooker Option: At the end of step 1, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker; add the rest of ingredients as directed in step 2. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.

I like to top with shredded Colby cheese, chopped Vidalia onions, chopped jalapenos and of course, sour cream. Wash it down with a cold beer but don’t forget to chill the glass!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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