Recipe Post: A Tale of Two Chilis

One chilly, drizzly Friday afternoon a month or so ago had me jonesing for a fresh, hot dinner that didn’t take me too long to prepare. Something that both my husband and I would enjoy, and for which I had all of the ingredients on hand. And most importantly, something for which I didn’t need to follow a recipe or do anything fancy. It had been a long week, and I was DONE. The answer? Chili! But aye, here’s the rub; I’m a vegetarian, and my husband is most decidedly not. He also detests lentils and tofu and tempeh and seitan and textured vegetable protein…and pretty much anything of that type that didn’t once moo, oink, or cluck.

To others this may have posed a problem, but I’ve been working around our respective diets for many years now and I was more than ready for this challenge. It also happens that I own an InstantPot, which, while not necessary for either of these chilis, was extremely handy to be able to have one slow-cooking on the stove while I worked on the second, and knowing that they would both be done at around the same time.

This chili’s quickness from fridge to table was aided by using a bag of frozen peppers I found at the grocery store, which I hadn’t used before; all they need was a quick, rough chop to size them down a bit, and they were ready to pop straight in the pot. I also didn’t even slice, mince or otherwise do anything with the garlic cloves I used, other than to skin, top and tail them. I figured they would release their aromas in their own due time, and could be fished out later. However, feel free to chop them up any way you wish.

I have posted the master beef chili recipe below, and made notes where I deviated from the master recipe to make my vegetarian version. Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients; most of them are pantry staples and go a long way to building and enhancing the flavour. This beef chili recipe also happens to be gluten-free, and the vegetarian chili can be easily made vegan if one desires (Note: it will not be gluten-free if using TVP; however, this recipe is delicious without the meat substitute; just add more veggies or beans).

And yes, as shown by the main photo above, I am one of those heretics that eats my chili over rice. I find it helps temper the zing of the chili’s spiciness, and serving over rice definitely stretches a pot of chili to feed many more people than it could by itself. If you’re feeling fancy, you can bake some cornbread to go with, or serve your chili alongside a little DIY station of tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar, bacon bits and green onions. I also like leftover chili on a baked potato the next day (scrumptious!)

Classic Beef Chili

YIELD: 6 servings | PREP: 10 mins | COOK: 1.5-2 hours (stovetop) or 30-45 mins Instant Pot

Beef Chili on Stovetop
  • 2 tbsp/30mL/1fl.oz olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I left mine whole and fished them out at the end)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 500g/1 lb lean ground beef (for my meatless chili I substituted an equivalent amount of pre-soaked TVP)
  • 3 tbsp/24g/0.85oz chili powder (see how to make your own below)
  • 2 tbsp/16g/0.6oz ground cumin (optional; omit if using DIY chili powder)
  • ¼ to ½ tsp/0.7g/0.02oz ground cayenne pepper (optional; omit if using DIY chili powder)
  • 1 tbsp/10g/0.35oz granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tsp/10g/0.35oz onion powder
  • 1 tbsp/15mL/0.5fl.oz Worcestershire sauce (I use a vegan brand for vegetarian option)
  • 1 tbsp/15mL/0.5fl.oz soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 tbsp/14g/0.5oz brown sugar
  • 1 tsp/0.2g/0.06oz salt
  • 1 tsp/2g/0.1oz freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups/475mL/16fl.oz beef broth (I used a vegetarian beef bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups of hot water)
  • 1 475mL/16 oz. tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 245g/8 oz tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 475mL/16 oz tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 475mL/16oz tin black beans, drained and rinsed
Vegetarian Chili in InstantPot

STOVETOP:

  • Heat the olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and bell peppers, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally; about 6 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and stir around vigorously, breaking clumps apart. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally. If using TVP, just add the granules and make sure they are well-mixed, then continue to next step.
  • Add all spices and stir until well combined. Cook for another 2 minutes, until spices are fragrant.
  • Stir in the broth, diced and crushed tomatoes, and the well-rinsed and drained beans.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning at the 30-minute mark. If you find the chili a bit too spicy for your taste, all is not lost; stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a cup of tomato juice or leftover crushed tomatoes; let cook another 10-15 minutes to reduce.

When chili looks and tastes to your satisfaction, remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Chili will always taste better the next day, so if you want leftovers, this recipe is scalable.

INSTANT POT:

  • Heat the olive oil on Sauté HIGH function. Add the onion, garlic and bell peppers, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally; about 6 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and stir around vigorously, breaking clumps apart and scraping bottom of pot to minimize sticking (and BURN notice later). Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally. If using TVP, just add the granules and make sure they are well-mixed, then continue to next step.
  • Stir in the broth and use a flat-bottomed spatula to deglaze the bottom of the IP as thoroughly as possible.
  • Add all spices and stir until just combined.
  • Add the diced and crushed tomatoes, and the well-rinsed and drained beans. Stir gently and quickly.
  • Turn off IP to reset, then turn on Beans/Chili function button, and make sure timer is set to 30 minutes. Do not set a keep warm timer. Set lid to sealing, not venting, and press start (if necessary).
  • When IP is done, do a Quick Release; stir thoroughly and ensure chili is not sticking to bottom.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning at this point. If you find the chili a bit too spicy for your taste, all is not lost; stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a cup of tomato juice or leftover crushed tomatoes; let cook on sauté for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, to reduce.

When chili looks and tastes to your satisfaction, remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Chili will always taste better the next day, so if you want leftovers, this recipe is scalable.

Five Minute Chili Powder

YIELD: 4 tbsp (+ if you add any extra peppers below)

  • 5 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp ground allspice
  • Optional: for an extra kick of spicy heat, add the equivalent of 2 serrano, chipotle, ancho, or guajillo peppers, finely ground

Combine all spices thoroughly, and store any leftovers in a tightly sealed jar away from heat or sunlight. Keeps for up to six months, but is best consumed within 3 months.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Looks simple and convenient! I love chili so much 🙂

    Like

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