Although it feels a little early in the cold weather seasons to be sharing a chili recipe, Nick requested chili specifically for tonight – so here we are! Chili is one of those dishes that I rarely follow a recipe for. Once you’ve made it a couple of times, you have the gist. However, there can be a vast difference between standard chili – pretty much always good – and really delicious chili. Since it is a Sunday and I had some extra time, I figured I’d see if I could find a chili recipe in one of my Maine cookbooks and give it a try.
Leslie’s Chili, on page 95 of Maine Home Cooking, was the winner. Sandra Oliver’s intro to this recipe is what convinced me – her sentiments mirrored my own above – but she recalled having a particularly excellent chili at her friend Leslie’s house, so she tracked that recipe down to share with the rest of us.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 lb. lean ground meat (I used beef)
- Two 14 oz. cans kidney or black beans
- One 28 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Squirt of ketchup
Brown the onion and garlic in a large, heavy pan. Add the meat and brown it, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 1/2 an hour or so. Taste occasionally and adjust seasoning.
A few additional notes:
I added some chopped jalapenos (pickled) to mine, and served with shredded cheddar cheese on top. Leslie’s notes recommended using two colors of beans (for example, black beans and kidney beans), which I did. She also sometimes adds a bit of hot sauce.
This chili recipe certainly hit the mark for me, and Nick said it was one of his favorites – it was really yummy and a clear step above your standard, thrown together chili. The other bonus for me was how quick it was – a little less than an hour total. My only (and very small) complaint is that I found the flavor to be a little too sweet. Next time, I’d go with 1/8 cup of sugar, rather than 1/4.
Try it on a brisk fall evening or chilly winter night!