Classic Comfort- Chili!

Forget politics and religion—if you want real dinner-table drama, raise the topic of chili. Just what makes chili authentic (Beans? Beef?) and just who deserves bragging rights for the best bowl is an endless source of debate. Where do your chili loyalties lie? Here, four recipes for every chili lover, even the “con carne” purist who proclaims white chili wimpy. (You’re in for a spicy surprise)




Kyle Dreirer

Bacon and Egg Chili
(previous page)
This isn’t breakfast, but the smoky
combination of ancho chiles and bacon plus the richness of egg is an eye opener.

Serves 4 to 6

2 slices thick-cut bacon
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound lean ground beef
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 large eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Chop bacon. To the same pan, add onions and garlic, cooking until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add ancho chili powder, cayenne chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef, stirring to break up the beef as it browns, about 10 minutes. Puree tomatoes and liquid in a food processor until smooth. Add tomato puree and reserved bacon. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 1 hour. In a separate small saucepan, bring several inches water and vinegar to a simmer. Break one egg at a time into a small bowl, then slide each egg into simmering water. Poach until whites are firm and yolk is runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove each poached egg to paper towels. Ladle chili into bowls. Top each with an egg.


Black Bean Chili
This hearty vegetarian chili gets a lift from the snap of crisp corn kernels and the last-minute addition of lime. It’s extra good with some tortilla chips served alongside.

Serves 4 to 6

2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne chili powder
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 16-ounce cans black beans,
drained and rinsed
2 ears corn, husked
(or 1½ cups frozen corn)
4 scallions, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat onion, bell pepper, and garlic in vegetable oil until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with their liquid and crush the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. Slice corn kernels from cob. Add beans and corn and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with scallions. Serve with lime wedges.
 


White and Green Chili
Don’t let the pale color fool you; this chili has plenty of spice on the tongue—and on the skin. Consider latex gloves when slicing these peppers to avoid skin irritation.

Serves 4 to 6

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast Kosher salt and black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and
ribs removed, minced
2 Anaheim peppers, seeds and
ribs removed, minced
1 poblano pepper, seeds and
ribs removed, minced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 16-ounce cans cannellini beans,
drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lime, juiced and zested

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, brown chicken in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, browning all sides. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion, garlic, peppers, and cumin to pan with additional vegetable oil as necessary. Sweat vegetable mixture, scraping bottom of pan to release any chicken fond, until onions are soft and translucent and peppers are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and return chicken pieces to pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred. Add beans to chili and simmer until heated, about 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken and lime juice. Ladle chili into bowls and garnish with lime zest.


 

Housebroken Chili Dog
Sweet-and-spicy chili dogs are a North Carolina tradition. “Housebreak” these dogs in true chili tradition—with a shot of tequila to take the edge off the spice.

Makes 8 chili dogs
1 cup water
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1½ teaspoons ancho chili powder
1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon tequila
8 hot dogs
8 hot dog rolls
 

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine water, onion, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and chili powder, stirring until tomato paste is dissolved. Add ground beef, stirring to break up meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in tequila. Cook hot dogs according to directions on the package. Serve each in a roll topped with chili.

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