09 December 2010

Now that it's so cold

These days, chilled to the bone and slashed with frosty wind, all I want to make is a big pot of chili. (And cornbread to go with it.) Spicy, steaming, hearty chili is the perfect antidote for below-freezing weather. And it smells amazing!

As far as chili goes, this is pretty basic. No fancy ingredients, no funky twists, no catchy name. It's just really good.

I know there are a lot of ingredients, but don't be scared. This is very easy to make! Most recipes call for "chili powder," which I never have, so I invented my own mixture of spices instead, and that is what caused the long ingredient list.

Rebekah's Chili
(one of the few truly original recipes I have. . .)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
2 cups diced onion
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced zucchini or sliced carrots (optional)
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, undrained
1 15-oz can black or canellini beans
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 bay leaves

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large soup pot. Brown ground beef in oil, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
2. Add onion, green pepper, garlic, and zucchini or carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent.
3. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours. (Or half an hour if you're short on time. The flavor gets better if it simmers longer, but it's still great after 30 minutes.) Serve with sour cream and grated cheddar.


I usually follow this recipe pretty closely, but this past week I accidentally dumped in double the amount of diced tomatoes (who does that?! sheesh) and I was also out of tomato paste. Yet it was still delicious. So I consider it a winning recipe: it even works when you mess up!

This makes way too much for us to eat immediately, so I have leftovers for another meal and also freeze some. When I made it for my family before getting married, though, it was gone at one sitting. Another sign of a winner.


  1. I thought chili powder was a basic. I'm curious why you don't have it.
    And yes, it is chili and cornbread weather. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Well, once upon a time (at least three years ago) I was making chili and my mom was out of chili powder. So I made something up instead. And we loved it... so my mom never bought chili powder again, and when I got married, neither did I. :)

    Also, I prefer buying individual spices because I think they're more versatile. Oregano and cumin could become anything... chili powder is just chili powder.

  3. Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

    - Daniel