Chili In A Bread BowlStock photo, with bread bowls, which is a pretty good idea. 

Andrea Hangst – NFL writer at Bleacher Report, Chicago based cook. Always trust someone in Chicago who can cook.

Andrea Hangst’s Standard American Chili

There are many variations on chili, many fancy ways to make it seem special and more than just a simple chili. But a simple chili is still the backbone of all the crazy chilis that come later. Here’s a nice, basic American chili recipe that is fine by itself or can be customized to your tastes or needs.

Serves 6 or 8 or 10.

Ingredients:

1.25 pounds ground beef (I go to a fancy butcher place where they will grind it for me so I don’t have seven cows in my one little package of beef. Just get the best you can).
1 28-oz can of tomato puree
1 15-oz can of beans in chili sauce (Bush’s, for example).
2 15-oz cans of beans of your choice (kidney, black, small red, small pink, etc) drained and rinsed
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles (not the cilantro and lime, otherwise your choice)
1 yellow or white onion, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
Chicken stock, I don’t know how much.
A hefty amount of: Garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika (smoked or not), salt (for later). There needs to be about 2 to 3 times as much cumin compared to the rest of the seasonings.
2 bay leaves
Vegetable oil
Dash of cider vinegar

So, take your ground beef and a giant pot and brown the beef. Remove beef from the pot and add a bit of vegetable oil if there’s not a lot of fat left over.

Saute the onions and jalapeno until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic and all of the spices and bay leaves and cook until you can smell all of it but it’s so totally not burned.

Add a little of the chicken stock to the pot to scrape up all the good things (flavor). Then add the beef back in.

Dump in: Chili-flavored beans, drained and washed beans, the can of Ro-Tel, the can of tomato puree. Rinse out the can of tomato puree with a bit of the stock and pour it in. Just put in stock until it’s thick but not too thick—this will cook down later.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and put the lid on the pot. Cook for 1 hour.

After an hour, open that thing up and taste it. How’s the heat? Cumin is the forefront flavor in all my chilis. It must have cumin and a hint of the sweetness from the chili powder. I bet it tastes good.

Turn the heat up slightly and cook on the stovetop uncovered for as long as it takes to get to your preferred thickness. I like my chili quite hefty.

Once you’re there, stir in the dash (maybe around a teaspoon) of cider vinegar and add salt. It’s time to eat!

Top with anything you prefer on your chili. I like shredded cheddar, Tabasco (for vinegar heat) and then tortilla chips for dipping and some crunch. But this is a very personal matter and you can do what you want.

Most importantly, enjoy it. You spent the time to cook it, so have a blast eating it. Considering I cannot cook for less than eight or 10 people at a time, you will have a lot of chili. Keep eating.