Rainy Night Chili

I hardly need to tell you that Seattle is famous for its rainy nights. In January 2006 it rained for over 30 days straight, which is enough to make you never want to come out of your house. Granted, it’s not hard rain, but does that really make it any better?

On a rainy night, the last thing you want to do is go out to dinner. You want something easy to make, thick and hearty, warm and filling.

The perfect rainy night dish? Chili. It is exactly that: easy to make, thick and hearty, warm and filling. Start with creamy, soft onions with warmed spices, then add beef, beans, and tomato puree or ketchup. It could hardly be any easier.

The one trick is the spices. Start with a 1/4 cup of chili powder, then taste after the first hour. Add cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes to rev up the spice, or leave alone for a classic, milder taste. You can also add the additional spices at the beginning if you know you’re after a spicier taste–start with a couple teaspoons of each.

Pour the finished product over rice, pasta, boiled potatoes, or tortilla chips to stir up a full meal.

Chili does require plenty of time. But hey, it’s raining outside. Curl up with a good book or the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and it’ll be done in no time. Where else do you have to go?

Recipe after the jump.


2 tablespoons oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
Cumin to taste (optional)
Coriander to taste (optional)
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
2 pounds lean (85% nonfat) ground beef or turkey
1 can (12 ounces) red kidney beans, undrained
1 can (12 ounces) black beans, undrained
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree (or ketchup to taste)
Salt to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in large heavy-bottom saucepan until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and sweet, about 10 minutes.

Add the beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and their juices along with the tomato puree. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and add additional spices and salt if desired. Uncover and simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally, until dark, thickened, and intensely flavored.

Serve with onions, ketchup, shredded cheese, and rice.

This recipe can also be prepared in the slow cooker. After browning the meat, add the meat mixture, beans, and tomato puree or ketchup to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

7 Comments so far

  1. Katie (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

    A quarter cup of chili powder?! That’s insane!

  2. Kristen (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

    Well of course it depends a bit on your spices, Spice Island is the preferred brand according to Cook’s Illustrated tests. I thought it was crazy at first too but the CI recipe recommended it and I’ve adopted it ever since!

  3. pffft (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

    katie – the chili powder here is not cayenne pepper. it’s the brown chili powder. it’s actualy quite mild. you’re thinking of cayenne. a quarter cup of that would probably burn your eyebrows off… :)

  4. dw (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    OK, this is completely wrong. In oh so many ways.

    Kidney beans?
    Tomato puree?
    Serve it on PASTA??!!?!?
    And where the hell is the beer?

    I’m posting my own recipe tonight. What an abomination.

  5. Kristen (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

    Beer?? What??? Crazy Oklahomans. You will put beer in anything.

  6. Tony B. (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

    If you are looking for a quick and easy canned version I recommend Chili Makin’s from S & W. You add a half pound of meat of your choice and you are good to go. While it’s not probably the healthiest choice, who the hell eats chili for their health?

  7. Patricia Jane (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

    I’ve got to side with DW here… kidney beans???

    Although personally I have a great recipe using wine instead of beer.

    Ooooohhhh… I smell a MetBlogging Chili Cookoff coming on!

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