I probably don't mention this enough, but my husband is my photographer. By which I mean he takes all of the photos for this blog. And he does a great job! He also cleans the lion's share of the dishes and is my official taste tester (every single plate photographed is implicitly promised to him, for his many contributions; I think that extra bit of motivation keeps him hungry and helps him to take photographs from the perspective of one who wants to eat what's on the plate).
Now he has an even larger job: cooking for the two of us. Or should I say three? Baby G will be coming along any week now; I'm just about 9 months along and I certainly feel ready to pop! Not only is it difficult to get around these days, my doctor put me on bed rest and I'm not supposed to be on my feet for more than 25 minutes per day. As you can imagine, this has made cooking impossible. This in turn makes blogging next to impossible as well. That is why I'm so pleased to be bringing you a new recipe, courtesy of my husband, who was my feet, hands, eyes, ears and tongue in the kitchen. A hearty, warming beef and bean stew with an irresistible flavor: beef and three bean chili.
Chili is such a basic dish, but it means something different in different places. A thoroughly American stew that nevertheless owes a debt of gratitude in its concept and flavor profile to Mexican food, chili is incredibly adaptable to different dietary choices (vegetarian/vegan; gluten free; paleo). It is also made entirely with beef (completely bean-less) in some parts of the country. Our version contains all of my favorite chili ingredients: beef, beans, Mexican spices, chilies and tomatoes. Feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking, but try it this way at least once, if you eat beef; it is the perfect blend of flavorful and zesty. Garnish with sharp cheese (I used extra sharp New York State cheddar), Yogurt or Sour Cream and serve alongside corn bread, corn tortillas or tortilla chips.
Beef & Three Bean Chili
Makes 10 -12 servings
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 (26 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 (26 oz) can chopped tomatoes
6 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
2 dried chilies, seeds removed, chopped roughly
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 bay leaf
fresh pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
2 teaspoons caldo de res*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil, then onions. Saute onions until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne, paprika, ginger, bay leaf and a generous helping of fresh pepper. Cook for one minute.
3. Add ground chuck and break up into small pieces. Add salt, to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until beef is browned and some fat has been rendered.
4. Add canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, dried chilies, beans, caldo de res or beef stock and up to 6 cups water.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste for salt and add more, if needed. Simmer for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the liquid reduces use a big serving spoon to gently mash the beans to help thicken the chili.
Fish out bay leaf and serve, garnished with cheese and sour cream and alongside a bread or starch (preferably corn based).
*Concentrated bouillon powder; this can be found in a Latin food market. If you are unable to obtain it substitute 2 of the 6 cups of water with beef stock