Smokey and Spicy Three Bean Chili

There is about a foot of snow on the ground here in Boston, and comfort food is calling my name. My live-in boyfriend Phil works as a professional arborist and spends his days climbing and cutting trees in rain, shine, or snow. He came home chilled to the bone today after a long week, and I cooked up this quick chili for dinner.

I used ground beef, but if you feel like being health conscious (I don’t…at least not today) you could substitute ground turkey. Or skip the meat altogether and make a vegetarian chili with zucchini instead. I only used a half can of corn with this recipe, because a whole can seemed like, well, just too much corn.

You could make this in about a half hour for a quick meal, or let it simmer on the stove even longer for a thicker, more flavorful chili. Some important things to remember:

1. Watch garlic closely when you cook it. If it turns brown, it tastes terrible.

2. Add the beans last. If they simmer too long, they’ll get mushy.

3. Remove the bay leaves before you serve the chili. Or at least tell people to watch out for them while they eat. They’re only for flavor, and not something you want to bite into.

You’ll need:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb ground beef
1 packet hot and spicy taco mix
2 bay leaves
1 can green chilis
1/2 can of corn
1 can each of the following: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, white beans, and red kidney beans.
some grated cheddar cheese.

A large skillet.
A large saucepan.

Get cooking:

In a skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until brown. Drain, add the taco seasoning, and follow the directions on the package. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Crush the two cloves of garlic into the pan, and mix around with a spatula. Let them sizzle for a minute or two, but don’t let them get brown!

Add the chopped onion to the saucepan and move around with the spatula until the onions are soft and translucent. This will smell amazing.

Add the chopped green pepper and move around for a few more minutes until the pepper is tender and loses its sharp crunch. (Go ahead, take a bite or two.)

Now you can pour in the can of diced tomatoes, the can of tomato sauce, the can of green chilis, and also add the cooked ground beef. Throw in the two bay leaves and stir all of this up. Continue cooking over medium heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add the cans of white beans, black beans, and red kidney beans. Add half the can of corn and put the rest in the fridge for some other time.

Continue cooking over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season lightly with chili powder, chipotle red pepper, or whatever else you have in your spice cabinet and enjoy. You won’t mess it up. Just sprinkle something spicy in there until it tastes the way you like.

I served this in bowls with the cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top and tortilla chips for dipping. It was hot, smokey, and very, very satisfying. Enjoy!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Summer says:

    Also, if you are worried about buying ground beef (who can’t be a little wary with all these health scares), you can always go to your butcher and buy a steak and have him/her grind it up for you. This way you know all the ground meat is from a) good quality steak and b) not a bunch of random meats mixed together, which increases the odds of bacteria.

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