The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Chili – ‘Nuf Said

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It’s a beautiful fall day, not a cloud in the sky.  It’s cold, raining, and fireplace weather.  It’s football season.  Well if you need any more reasons  than those to make yourself a pot of chili, here’s one more. It’s a one pot meal you can tweek to suit your taste and budget.

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This is Bison Chili, made with peppers and tomatoes from our garden.  You can use ground beef if Bison’s not your thing. You can even leave the meat out. Generally 2lbs of meat are used, but I only use one pound. The meat in this recipe is not the main ingredient. The veggies are.

1lb ground meat, or diced chuck roast. *

1 large diced onion

4Tbs Chili Powder

2Tbs ground Cumin (roasted if possible)

4 cloves of garlic

1tsp Oregano

1 pinch (@1/4 tsp) of ground Thyme

3 cans of beans

6 cups of diced Tomatoes

1pint stewed tomatoes and 1 can or box of Tomato sauce

3 diced peppers

HERE’S ARE THE BASIC STEPS: 

FIRST: In a Dutch Oven, brown your meat. SECOND: Add the onions and garlic (finely chopped or minced in a garlic press). Cook for another 3 minutes, until the onions are softened. THIRD:  Add the rest of the Ingredients, and let simmer for at least an hour.

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TIPS:

  • You can use whatever peppers  you like.  Some like ’em green, some like ’em hot. I used the peppers that were ready from our garden – Green and Poblano.  In the middle of the winter I use the Tri-Color sweet peppers (Red Yellow Orange) from the market. The sweet peppers balance the tartness of the no longer in season Tomatoes.
  • My family likes our chili very Tomato Saucey. I used a 6 oz box of crushed Tomatoes 6 cups of diced Tomatoes from the garden, and previously prepped Stewed Tomatoes. If you don’t have stewed tomatoes in the freezer,(recipe for Stewed Tomatoes is in the Charmed Kitchen section) you can buy them in cans or boxes at the grocery store.  Some cans come Chili ready with chili peppers or garlic already added.  If you’re not a fan of “Tomatoey” chili, here’s where you can customize your pot by adding less Tomatoes and more meat OR beans if you’re going vegetarian.
  • Use a variety of beans. I used black beans from our garden, which I soaked overnight and 2 cans of red kidney beans. Drain AND Rinse the canned beans thoroughly before putting them in your chili to reduce the salt, citric acid and extra starch  that comes in every can.  If you’re going meat free, add another can for more protein. If you’re more a fan of meat than beans, go traditional with one can of Red Kidney Beans.
  • Experiment. After you’ve mastered this basic recipe, don’t be afraid to make it your own by experimenting with things like Smoked Paprika, canned Chipotle peppers with the sauce, Amber Beer, Chocolate Beer, a couple Tbs of apple cider vinegar, and the list goes on.
  • Make a Chili Bar.  When you’re ready to serve your pot of chili put toppings in bowls and set them out with the chili for your family. Some options are diced onions – green or white, some extra peppers – sweet and hot, an assortment of cheese, sour cream, corn.

Chili is great with cornbread, especially cornbread with jalapenos. That’s a recipe for another day.

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Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

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