Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Good Chili

This is a very hectic time of year.  You would think that with the school year winding down, that the daily pace would start to slow down also.  For our family however, it is the complete opposite.  Between swim lessons, music recitals, end of year field trips and the  school Fun Fair that I am helping to organize, I feel like we are running a mile a minute.  When things get crazy like this, there is always a temptation to slack on the cooking and just get something easy.  However, when we are busy, eating lousy food doesn't help to keep us going, nor does it make us feel very good.  So I turn to recipes that can be made ahead of time, that are packed with protein and vitamins to give us the energy we need and to make us feel good at the end of a long busy day.

Chili is one of those things that I always forget about.  I love to make it and I love to eat it, but it is often one of those suppers that come out when life is either really busy or the weather is lousy.  The other night was both busy and rainy so I made this chili and put out a bunch of different toppings for everyone to choose from.  I was reminded how much kids love little bowls of things to dress up their suppers and it is a great way to add some extra fresh vegetables into their meal including this beautiful kale from Makaria Farm. Not only was the chili a hit but we all felt good after eating it.  So if your life is as hectic as mine is right now, make this for supper this week.  It is easy, delicious and will give you the boost you need to keep up with all of those end of year activities.  It is also fantastic in thermoses the next day for lunches.

Mamas Homemade Chili

a couple of glugs of vegetable oil, I use Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic, 2 if they are very large, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 lb extra lean ground beef (omit if you want this to be a vegetarian chilli)
3-4 Tbsp chilli powder or to taste
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 red pepper
1 orange or yellow pepper
1 can black beans
1 can cannellini beans or white kidney beans rinsed
1 can whole or crushed tomatoes

Heat up your oil in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.  Once the vegetables have cooked and their sugars are starting to come out, add the beef and break up into small bits with a wooden spoon.  Once the meat has browned, add the peppers and then the spices and stir everything together.  Be careful not to burn the spices, but let them toast with the mixture for a minute or so.  Next toss in your beans including the water from the black beans.  Lastly add the tomatoes.  If your tomatoes are whole, just break them down in the pot with your spoon. If it looks like you need a bit more liquid you can rinse out the can with a bit of water and pour that in.  Let this simmer for at least an hour so all the flavours can come together.  Taste it first and then add your salt and pepper.  Many chilli powders already have salt in them so be careful not to over salt your chilli.

Serve with little bowls of chopped fresh tomatoes, freshly grated cheese, sliced kale, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, avocados and tortilla chips.  

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