The Secrets of Making Great Chili

On a cold winter day the only thing better than a big bowl of meaty chili is a big bowl of healthy chili with meat. Chili con carne when made with only meat is not a very healthy dish. I am going to share a story and a recipe for making a somewhat healthy chili that is at least 50% beans.

When the children were young and our finances were a little stretched I learned how to make a most tasty chili con carne that was more beans then it was meat. My kids turned up their noses at the though of eating beans. They just had some kind of mindset about eating cooked dried beans. They were willing to tolerate a few beans in the chili but that was about the extent of their bean eating.

Give them a bowl of homemade chili, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk and they thought they were eating filet mignon. I usually made a large pot of it and we would eat more than once in the same week.

What they did not know then and all of them may not yet know today is that that wonderful flavorful chili they loved so much was about 60% dark red kidney beans and about 40% meat. The secret was in the smashing of all but a small portion of the beans that went into the pot.

Later as empty nesters I tried making smaller batches and reducing the quantity of beans. We just did not care for it nearly as much. All that ground meat just sat there in our tummies and gave us indigestion. So I went back to the initial recipe I just shrank the total volume a bit. Leftovers freeze well portioned out into quart zip lock bags which are just about the right amount for a healthy meal for the two of us.

One innovation that I added to the recipe in recent years is adding one can of black beans to mix just for color and a little twist on the flavor.

Making great chili is a step by step process. You can't just throw all the stuff in a pan and expect it to turn out correctly

There are five basic secrets to making a superb chili. -Make it the day before you plan to eat it and let the flavors meld overnight in the fridge.
-Use a good quality meat (15-20% max fat)
-Cook your diced onions and meat together.
-You must caramelize your onions. Near the end of the cooking process for the meat and onions if the onions are not sticking slightly to the bottom of the pan, you aren't doing it correctly.
-Use a quality pre-blended chili seasoning unless you already know what you are doing. I always use Mexene Original Blend which is a brand name for a blend of chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano and garlic.

So you need to do some shopping and get ready while I whip the actual recipe in publishable format. You need the following items:
3 pounds of ground chuck
3-4 cans of dark red kidney beans
1 can of black beans (use 3 kidneys)
Large can (46 oz) of tomato juice
A med-large Sweet onion (255g )
Mexene Chili Seasoning


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