Chili season is upon us here in Iowa and I’m very happy about that!! I think your chili should be about as personally formulated as your wardrobe. It should be your own or tailored to your family’s style. I wanted to show you how I make basic chili not to convince you my way is the only way but to at least inspire you that it’s super easy and you should try it and add/take away whatever you see fit. Having a go to chili “recipe” is a nice thing to have up your sleeve for having company on a cold night or just to have a big pot of something warm cooking in your kitchen all day long!
I had some bacon in the fridge that needed to be used up so I grabbed that and gave it a chop. I don’t usually put bacon in my chili but this time I wanted to… such is chili. I threw that in a pan with some onion and let the bacon render until it was nice and crispy then set aside.
Oh, and here’s another new thing I tried, which I will definitely be doing again… a finely diced chipotle in adobo sauce. I used just one pepper but you could get as spicy as you want. This added a great smoky flavor.
GF NOTE – I did call the company that makes these beans. There is modified food starch in them and I was told that it is corn starch and not flour so these do not contain gluten ingredients.
I had found a large can of kidney beans in the clearance cart at the grocery store because it had a big dent in it. Deal for me!! I usually throw in a can of rinsed black beans too but I was out so these were perfect!
Next, some liquid. I like tomato juice. I don’t like super thick chili so this is my style. You could use tomato sauce if you prefer a little heavier consistency. I’ve even used V8. This is the big can, by the way.
And for some color and crunch… some various bell pepper pieces. This is what I had on hand and I’m so glad cause it’s so pretty 🙂 I don’t like to saute the peppers because I like the crunch they add and they will actually soften while cooking all day in the crock pot.
Give that all a stir and add as much or little liquid as you want to get to the consistency you desire. This is also where you will add a generous amount of salt and pepper. There is a lot to season here, folks! Also, I add chili pepper, sometimes cumin… sometimes a dried chili pepper… whatever I feel like that day! Let this cook as long as you can stand. I like to assemble mine in the morning and let it go on low until supper time.
Taste it again an hour or so before you plan to serve it to make sure the seasonings and consistency are right. There are also endless ways to garnish your chili. Chips, Fritos, cheese, avocado, onion, sour cream, jalapeno slices… you name it. I believe a bowl of chili is a personal thing… a very delicious, comforting, addictive kind of personal thing! And it’s always better the next day so make more than you plan on eating in one setting!!
Get in the kitchen and make up your own combo. You really can’t mess it up!!