Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hot Chili for a "chilly" day

As I begin my first post, I feel I must point out that the current temperature in Buffalo is 4 degrees. And yes, that is without the wind chill. What a perfect day for soup, hot chocolate, or even better, a nice warm bowl of Chili.

Ever since I was a little kid this was always a favorite of my mom's to make when we went out for a day of skiing. Now that I've made it, I can see why.  While it's pretty easy to make, it only gets better the longer you simmer it. Throw it into a crock pot while you're out on the slopes for a few hours in the freezing cold and all of a sudden Chili really starts to sound good.

So what are you going to need? The list of ingredients is short and sweet. (well not literally sweet of course)

  • About 12 medium sized tomatoes (core them, peel them, and then cut them in half)
  • 2lbs Ground Beef (I used 92% lean, but I'm sure 90% or 85% would be just as good)
  • 1 lg onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1-2 cans of Bush's Chili Beans (depending on how much of a bean lover you are, or if you share a bed with somebody) 
  • 1 can Campbell's Tomato Soup  

To start off, peel and core the tomatoes, cut them in half and put them in a medium sized kettle. I'll admit, with the cold temps and lack of good tomatoes right now in Buffalo, I used whole frozen tomatoes from the freezer that came off of grandma's farm this past summer.  As a result, I didn't snap a picture of them.  When I make this again I promise I'll edit this post with nice ripe summer tomatoes. Anyways, turn the kettle on to simmer and occasionally stir them up. Eventually, they will boil down and no longer really look too much like tomatoes. I was like a kid at a magic show when they really did turn from their tomato shape into a liquid. I still say its magic. Next up, you'll want to food process the pepper and onion. If you don't have a food processor, you can spend some time chopping and you'll get the same results. I was lucky enough to have a food processor, as you can see: 

Next, you put the beef, food processed pepper and onion, salt, pepper and chili powder all in a frying pan. Turn it on to medium-high heat to get it all going. Everything going in to the pan should look a lot like this..

After the meat has been browned, turn the heat down to simmer. At this point, the juice from the meat and veggies will allow you to cook this without burning the beef. Let all of that simmer in the pan for about 20-30 min, or whenever the tomatoes have pretty much boiled down in the kettle. You'll want to let it simmer, because at this point the kitchen will smell fantastic.

After you've let it simmer enough, its time to add the beef mixture to the kettle.  Stir it in and make sure to get every last bit in.  At this point make sure the kettle is still on simmer, and just relax.

In about 90 minutes the chili will be thick enough to go on to the next step, but there is nothing wrong with letting it simmer for 2 to even 3 hours. When it appears to be around the right consistency of chili, you'll want to add the last of the ingredients. 

I'm told by my mother that the can of tomato soup is a super secret family recipe. While i'm not too sure about this, it does taste pretty good. After you add in the beans and tomato soup, let the chili simmer for about 15 more minutes, and it's ready to serve. If you're anything like me, Cheddar cheese and saltine crackers are must to go along with this.

As also mentioned earlier, this goes fantastic in a crock pot, and even better on a cold Buffalo winter day. 


  1. I was TOTALLY craving this today. Nice work Mike! AND well-written, which is most important. Eric is begging for chili now. We've got a whole family of blogs going, eh?

    Want me to send you the wigilia fish photos?

  2. Between Moms cookbook and the family of blogs, it's great to know the whole family will always be able to enjoy the awesome food we grew up on! (well, maybe not Jer, unless he learns to cook!)

  3. Hey Mike - where's the peanut butter pie recipe (and pictures)??? That's what I am most interested in!!! lol - or just email me