Snow Day Chili

Snow Day Chili

It is winter in Michigan at its finest right now!  Huz is on snow day # 3 this week due to the frigid cold, and blowing winds.  The winds have been keeping our lovely dirt roads snow drifted shut, and at times we find ourselves praying the snow plows remember us.  Thankfully the food preservation work we do in the summer allows us to go for weeks without having to go to the grocery store this time of year.  Here is one of my favorites to make,  I like to call it “snow day chili” because for me this recipe requires no trip to the store due to all the ingredients being put up this summer.  It is so simple and flexible to make, plus it warms you up on cold snowy nights,  makes great left overs, and pairs nicely with a home-brew.  Also this recipe is gluten-free, just make sure any store bought product you use is marked as such on the label, if you use home canned stuff then you are good to go.  Let’s get to it!

Ingredients: (This batch size make about 12-14 cups)

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste ( I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 medium or large onion (whatever you got laying around) – chopped
  • 1 cup of dry kidney beans – will teach you how to re-hydrate below, these are way better than the store-bought canned stuff.  We grow our own dry beans but you can buy them in the store for super cheap.
  • 3 Quart Jars of home canned tomato sauce, See that post here, the store bought version would be something like  Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • 1 bag of frozen green peppers, See that post here, this is optional but we like the flavor it adds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dehydrated Super Chili’s or the store bought version is called Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin – this gives it a nice savory chili flavor
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, optional – I happened to have this in the house so I chopped it up and threw it in, adds nice flavor and heat.

Directions:

Re-hydrating dry beans is super easy it just takes a bit of time, so around lunch time start this step, or the day before…then you have them ready when you need them.

  1. In a large pot dump your cup of dry kidney beans and fill with water until covering about a good inch above the beans.
  2. Turn on high heat and bring to a boil, once boiling turn off and place cover on and let them set for about an hour.  The idea is just get the beans to start absorbing the water.
  3. After an hour turn your burner on to low/simmer and stir every 15-20 minutes or when you think about it.
  4. Just keep cooking until they look soft, they might split a bit.  Once this happens try one are they soft all the way through?  If yes turn off, if not keep cooking…  NOTE: these will have more texture than the canned beans you get at the store.
  5. Once they are done to your liking turn them off, drain, and store until you make the chili.  See these steps below.

Chili 1

Then when it gets closer to dinner, brown your meat with the salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and chopped up onions.

Chili 2

Once your meat is cooked, dump your meat, beans, 3 quarts of tomatoes, peppers, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp of super chili’s into a large stock pot.  (NOTE add 1/4 tsp of super chili if you do not like much spice)

Chili 3

Then turn on to medium-high and cook until starting to boil a bit, remember to stir frequently, once boiling move heat to low and cook for a 20-30 minutes longer.  Then give it a try, what does it need to meet your taste palate?  Maybe more salt, more spice, etc.  Add as you see fit.  I ended up adding a bit more super chili’s since we like it spicy.  Below is the finished product!

chili 4 chili 5

Tips/Notes:

  • If you use the store-bought canned tomatoes you might need to cook it on low a bit longer to thicken your chili.  Our sauce is already cooked down to the perfect chili thickness
  • Serve with cheese on top if you wish
  • Pairs nicely with home-brews and french bread (skip this part gluten-free folks)
  • This makes awesome left-overs since the flavors have more time to meld.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan