Until recently, every time I’ve thought about making chili, I’ve cast around for the perfect recipe. I can never remember which recipe of the 15 I can find in my various books is the one I like. I read them all, and end up using bits and pieces of each of them. The next time, it’s the same story all over again. Was it the “Beef and Vegetable Chili” or the “Hearty Beef Chili?” Did I prefer kidney beans or black beans?
I finally decided to get down on paper the approximate formula for the way I’ve made it the last few times. This recipe, to me, brings together all the good things about the infinite possibilities of chili-making. Bison instead of beef (leaner, healthier, greener). Whole chiles. Dark beer. Black beans. Chipotles.
The great thing about chili is that you can do whatever you like. Add corn. Substitute your favourite beans. Make it hotter…or milder. There’s nothing more forgiving than a pot of chili.
I consider this a recipe-in-progress. It’s adapted from about five other recipes, and I’ll probably make it differently next time.
2 lbs ground bison (or, okay, beef. But come on.)
¼ cup olive oil (bison is so lean that a bit of oil is necessary for browning)
1 large onion, diced (doesn’t really matter what colour. Red are nice.)
4 cloves garlic, minced (non-negotiable)
½ of a red pepper
½ of a green pepper
2 whole ancho chiles
1 whole pasilla chile
½ can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 bottle dark ale (I won’t insist on a brand)
1 litre good chicken stock
2 large cans diced tomatoes (including the juice)
2 tbsp honey
2 cans black beans, rinsed well (or a good double handful of dried beans, soaked overnight)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
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