Friday, February 11, 2011

Chili Fit for the Super Bowl

Nick and I finally broke down and bought a dutch oven, which I can safely say was one of our best investments.  I am even saying this only after cooking with it once!  The big question that remained was what to christen the new 9-quart Le Creuset with?

Since Sunday was the Super Bowl, there was really only one thing to make - chili!  Not having a go-to recipe, Nick turned to the Food Network website and found a recipe by the Neely's.  Typically, I find them to be completely annoying, but they've sort of started to grow on me.  Their food, however, has always looked fantastic, so when Nick found their recipe I was sold - that, and it had beef, pork AND bacon.

Simmering away...
The necessities...

6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup beer (recommended: Budweiser)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
Lime wedges, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
Sliced scallions, for garnish

With so many ingredients its tough to tell where to start, so my thinking is to always start by prepping all the components.  This time, however, Nick went ahead and chopped up the red and yellow peppers, the onion, the garlic and the smoked applewood bacon.  The rest of the components were already set to go.

Chopped and Prepped
Cooking time!  I added the chopped bacon to the dutch oven until it was lightly crisp.

Cooking Bacon
When the bacon was finished I went ahead and added the garlic, onions (including a little bit of shallot that we had leftover in the fridge), bell peppers and spices to the pot and seasoned with salt and pepper.  The recipe actually called for chipotle chili powder, but we had some whole chipotles in adobo sauce in the fridge, so we went with those instead.

Veggies, Seasoning and Bacon. 
I continued to stir all of these components together until the veggies were tender and the seasoning was aromatic - about 5-8 minutes.  Trust me - the seasoning is really fragrant and will make your house smell amazing!  Next, I added the ground beef (we used 90/10 rather than the suggested 85/15). 

Breaking apart the beef
I broke the ground meat apart using a wooden spoon because not only was it the easiest utensil, but it also ensured that the dutch oven would not get scratched!  Once the beef was mostly broken apart and starting to brown (about 4 minutes), I added the ground pork, broke that apart as well, and continued to stir until the meat was browned.

All Browned
Next I stirred in the beer and the beans.  While the recipe recommends Budweiser, we are strictly a Miller Light household.  I also added the cans of diced and crushed tomatoes (be sure to use the unseasoned varieties).  Once it was all added, I stirred everything together, put the top on the dutch oven and let it cook on low heat for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  When I took the lid off there was still a lot of liquid, so I think I should have kept the lid off.  Regardless I kept the lid off at this point and allowed some of the liquid to boil off the chili.  Nick loves corn, so we also added a bag of frozen corn to the pot at this point.

Almost done!
Again, I stirred it all together a couple more times in order to ensure that all the ingredients were mixed together.  Finally, after another 20 or 30 minutes - enough time to allow a good amount of the liquid to boil off - the chili was ready to go!

All stirred together
After having the amazing Frito Pie at Tupelo, we added some corn chips to the bottom of the bowl before scooping in the chili.  The recipe says you can go ahead and add some sour cream, Cheddar, scallions and a lime wedge to top off your bowl of chili, but I just went for Cheddar.  Since the chili was nice and warm, the cheese started melting immediately.

This chili was fantastic!  It had the perfect amount of spice - a definite bite, but not too overwhelming.  Considering the amount of spice we added to the dish, I was actually a bit surprised that it didn't end up being too much!  The flavors all came together really well, and this turned out to be the perfect dish to have while watching the game.  I loved the corn chips on the bottom, which added a great salty crunch to the chili. 

The one thing I might do differently would be to take the bacon out of the dutch oven once it is cooked and add it back once the chili was just about done.  Even though there was a lot of bacon, I could not really taste it.  Otherwise it was great and I would make this recipe again in a heartbeat.

The dutch oven worked wonders.  I am happy we got the 9 quart, though, since we basically maxed it out with this recipe.  Also, while this recipe supposedly yields 4-6 servings, this easily could have served 8-10 people.  I'm VERY happy we did not decide to double it!  The clean up was a cinch and we only had to let is soak for a little with some soap.  I think I am going to search for recipes that use a dutch oven just so I can use it more.  It was the perfect investment!

Homemade Beef Chili on Foodista


  1. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

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  2. Cant wait to try this recipe.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this chili widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about recipes for chili,Thanks!


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