What makes the perfect bowl of chili?

I love eating chili on a dreary day. It's warm, comforting and filling. Chili is what I consider the perfect fall comfort food. What makes the perfect bowl of chili? There are as many chili recipes as there are chili cooks, so the perfect bowl of chili is usually up for debate. I love my chili to be saucy and spicy with the right amount of kidney beans. Every pot of chili I make has been improved upon and is different then the time before. There are so many variations of recipes (ground beef or stew meat, chili powders, beans or no beans, tomato sauce or paste) it's hard to know where to start.

This chili recipe is simple but very good. You can experiment with different chili powders until you find your perfect bowl of chili.

Chili

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup masa harina (optional, see below)

Shredded cheddar

Chopped onions

Tortilla chips


Heat olive oil in a large stock pot. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until they are translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped onions, and tortilla chips.

Masa Harina gives the chili a thicker texture with a rich corn flavor. Place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Pour the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor.




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