I am crazy for chili and make it in a variety of ways, but this recipe comes from a prize-winning chili maker and it'll be a winner for you, too. At Yankee magazine we come across a lot of great home cooks and we write about them in the column "best cook in town." This recipe is from Jerry Bouma, a home cook who competes and wins in chili competitions—it's a tamed down version of the competition recipe, which is too hot for us mortals and of course he'd never part with his prize-winning secret.
3 pounds lean ground beef
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 serrano (medium spicy) chiles, minced
1 10-1/2-ounce can double-strength beef stock (or 2-1/2 cups beef stock boiled down to 1-1/4 cups)
6 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 28-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 19-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
In a large (7-quart) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, cook ground beef, breaking it up with a potato masher until it's fully cooked. Then drain and discard most of the rendered fat.
In a separate medium-size saute pan over medium heat, add oil and cook red pepper, onion, garlic, and chiles just until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add cooked vegetable mixture, beef stock, spices, sugar, and diced tomatoes to the big pot and simmer 1 hour.
Add tomato paste; stir well and cook another half-hour, stirring occasionally. If you're using beans, stir them in 10 minutes before serving.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.