Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Family Favorites - Chili Willy Chili

Chili is one of those great comfort foods in our family.  When the leaves begin to change color in the Fall and football season begins, I begin thinking about making a big pot of chili.  While I do not consider myself a football fan whatsoever, I am an avid fan of chili!  I have been using a recipe that I found in a Better Homes & Gardens "New Cookbook", dated 1976, as my "base recipe" and over the years I have tweaked it to "make it my own".  You can make it as spicy as you like or as mild...depending on your own personal preference and taste.  The original recipe called for "green peppers" but my husband HATES green peppers...however he will eat red bell peppers (they are sweet) as well as Poblano peppers (which are mildly spicy) and also happen to be green by the way...(don't ask, I just go with it).  We like to serve our chili in big bowls sprinkled with shredded sharp cheddar cheese as well as a dollop of sour cream along with piping hot cornbread muffins on the side.  My recipe is a triple batch that uses three pounds of ground sirloin...so you can easily make 1/3 (using 1 pound of meat) or 2/3 (using 2 pounds of meat) and by dividing the remaining ingredients accordingly.  Nothing is too exact in this recipe so play around with it to make it just the way YOU like it.  This is my version....enjoy!

Simmering away on the stove...

Chili Willy Chili

3 pounds ground sirloin
2 medium onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 - 3 Poblano peppers, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely diced
3 1-pound cans kidney beans, drained
3 14.5 ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon "hot Mexican" chili powder
3 bay leaves
Few good shakes of cayenne pepper, to taste

In a large pot, brown meat, onion and peppers until
meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender; drain 
excess fat.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 
for 1 hour.  Remove bay leaves.  Serves 10-12.

Note:  Ground chuck, ground round, and lean ground beef  will work great in this recipe too.  If you don't like spicy chili, eliminate the jalapeno pepper...if you like it spicy, add more.  If you want to use other types of peppers (yellow, orange, green, etc.), substitute with your favorite.  I like to use the fire roasted tomatoes because they have more flavor...if you don't like anything "charred" in your food, use regular diced tomatoes instead.  You can add more or less salt to make it perfect for your palate.  I like to mix both light skinned and dark skinned red kidney beans in my chili to add different colors.  You could even use a different kind of bean if you prefer.  One of the main advantages of not using a "chili flavoring packet" is that you can fine tune the salt, chili powder, etc. to make it exactly the way you like it....not the way "McCormick" likes it.  This recipe is easily adaptable to your own taste.  I hope you enjoy it!

*For a low carb version, omit beans.

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