Well, it was the biggest football game of the year—”Super Bowl 57″—and our hometown Eagles team were part of the action, so we wanted to make it an authentic culinary experience, even if it was just the two of us. When we think football, our minds conjure up certain food items that are iconic stalwarts of the game celebration. To us that might mean spicy wings, soft pretzels with mustard, loaded nachos, buffalo chicken dip, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, and of course chili with all the fixins’.
Over the decades we’ve made many a chili recipe with as many variations as there are football fans. This one by Pati Jinich is worth the effort. She is a Mexican chef, TV personality, cookbook author, educator, and food writer. Pati is best known for her James Beard Award-winning and Emmy-nominated public television series Pati’s Mexican Table. So she has some hefty credit backing up her authority on the chili issue.
Chili is a hearty and flavorful crowd-pleaser that’s perfect all winter long, not just on football Sundays. As is typical, we did make a few tweaks. Number one, we used an entire large jalapeño, not just a mere tablespoon’s worth. Secondly, the stew beef was not tender after one hour (no surprise there), so we simmered, uncovered, for another hour before adding the beans. It then takes another 45 minutes to an hour for the beans, covered on low with a gentle simmer, stirring every once in a while.
Alas, our team lost the Super Bowl, but the chili was a clear winner!
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 large white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeño, seeding optional
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder, such as ancho or chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
4 cups beef stock
2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded cheddar cheese
Green onions, sliced thin
In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom casserole, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and begin to brown on all sides. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the ground meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it brown along with the cubed meat for another 5 to 6 minutes. The juices of the ground meat should have come out and then dry out. Stir as the meat browns. Remove meat from pot, set aside.
Make room in the center of the pan, add the extra tablespoon of oil and add the onions and peppers, cook for 5 more minutes or until they begin to soften.
In the casserole again, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, chili powder, chipotle sauce, cumin, oregano, stir well.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and vinegar, mix well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes stirring a couple times. The tomato paste should have dissolved and the sauce thickened a bit.
Pour in the beef stock and once it comes to a strong simmer, reduce heat to medium. Add the browned meat back into the pot, cover and cook for another hour.
Next, add the beans and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low, it should have a low steady simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every once in awhile.
Serve the chili in bowls and let your guests garnish with sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and green onions.
A perfect time of year for chili, and this tangy, mildly spicy white-bean chili is as warming and comforting as a traditional one, but in a lighter, brighter form. Plenty of green chiles — fresh and canned — provide kick while creamy white beans mellow it all out. To decrease the heat level, remove and discard the seeds from the jalapeño before you mince it.
A large handful of chopped cilantro added at the end brings freshness, but if you don’t care for cilantro, pass it at the table along with the other toppings or omit it entirely. In the spirit of customizing your chili, you can make this in the slow cooker or on the stovetop*. Use 3 cups chicken stock in the slow cooker and 4 cups on the stovetop, where liquid is more likely to evaporate.
On addition to sliced scallions and chopped cilantro, we topped the chili with grated Cotija cheese. It is a Mexican, dry grated cheese, made from cow’s milk and can be compared to the taste of feta and parmesan. BTW, queso fresco means “fresh cheese” in Spanish, the best substitute for cotija if you can find it in stores or happen to have some on hand. It is very close in flavor to cotija but is a little bit milder.
*You can also cook the chili in a Dutch oven on your stovetop. In step 2, add 4 cups stock instead of 3 cups and let the mixture come to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped green chiles, cumin, onion powder, oregano and cayenne and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
*Transfer the mixture into a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker. Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and add them to the pot. Stir in 3 cups chicken stock and the beans. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours.
Shred the chicken using two forks. (You can do this directly in the pot, or remove the chicken to a bowl, shred it, then return it to the pot.) Stir in the frozen corn, cover and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Serve in bowls and pass the toppings at the table.
Remember the loaded potato bar craze? This hearty riff is a weeknight meal’s dream found when I ran across a food article in Better Homes & Gardens. We made several modifications such as a combo of shredded cheddar and jack cheeses, more ground beef (which BTW, you could also use ground turkey), an extra scallion, and added a teaspoon of chipotle powder.
As far as microwaving the sweet potatoes, not a fan. Often they come out inconsistent as to the softness throughout. Of course, if you are pressed for time, that might be the way to go. Ours took 60 minutes in a 400° oven (time to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine).
It’s a personal preference whether or not you eat the potato skins. I for one, don’t mind them and get extra fiber from doing so, The Hubs, not so much. If you have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, although it’s best to keep all of the layers separate.
12 oz. to 1 lb. lean ground beef (you decide how much meat)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder
15-oz. can black bean fiesta, undrained
4 medium sweet potatoes
1+ cup grated cheddar cheese (or a jack and cheddar mix)
1⁄2 cup sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced
In a two-quart sauce pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add drained salsa for 3 minutes.
Add the meat and chili powder. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked throughand beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in reserved salsa liquid and beans with their liquid. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to cook the sweet potatoes, wash and pat dry. Prick each spud four times with a fork; microwave on high for 15 minutes, flipping once during cooking. (Alternatively, bake the potatoes in a 400° oven for 45-60 minutes.)
Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. If not tender enough, continue to microwave in one-minute increments until tender.
Split open the potatoes and gently squeeze to create a central cavity. Place on plates.
Spoon chili over potatoes and top with cheese, sour cream and scallions.