The other day we made PW Meatloaf* (I know, I know, cooking out of turn and all ... now I've made the meatloaf AND the lasagna!) and it was delicious, but in order to make it I bought a "family pack" of ground beef. The meatloaf was about two pounds and I put the rest of the meat in the fridge thinking I'd use it, one way or another, this week. Then Kristin posted about making the chili last night, and I was home alone this morning and realized (a) I was starving, (b) I had all the ingredients on hand to make the chili, including almost exactly the 2 pounds of ground beef the recipe called for, (c) we as yet had no plans for dinner, and (d) there wasn't anything easy and quick in the house for lunch.
So, the kids were in school, Mick was out, and I cleaned the kitchen, forgot to rotate the laundry, steam-mopped the floor, took out the leaf from the table, and decided to make the chili. I was the very picture of happy-housewife-ness this morning, I was. I even had on something other than sweats! (I know, right?!)
Simple, Perfect Chili
Verdict: Simple, perfect chili.
Cook it Again: Yes.
Cost Factor: very low. Ground beef, two cans of beans, tomato sauce and Ro-Tel. $12ish total?
The chili title doesn't lie. It really is insanely easy and perfect(ly seasoned). In fact, the only prep you have to is to dice some fresh garlic. (And for what it's worth, Kristin said she used the jarred minced garlic and that was fine!) Otherwise, you measure out a handful of seasonings and open a can of tomato sauce, a can of beans (we used kidney and cannelloni) and a can of Ro-Tel. No chopping, roasting, or anything else ending in -ing. And for my family who is reading along, it's just the right level of spice and kick. Not at all hot, but hardly bland. It really is a wonderful little chili!
Here's the action: You put the meat and garlic in a big pot, brown the meat and drain it, add the seasonings and tomato sauce and simmer for an hour. Yes, that's it. "Simple" is quite accurate.
I messed up and added the beans and Ro-Tel after adding the sauce -- the recipe says to add them at the end. (Actually, the recipe just makes a meat-only chili and describes a few optional ingredients, beans and Ro-Tel among them). And I completely forgot about adding the masa, so I really can't say what a difference-maker that was. Not a big deal; I'll surely make this chili recipe again. We cook chili fairly often and I can't really say that any chili is particularly complicated or difficult, but this one is certainly among the easiest. The simmering really did help to marry the flavors, but you could definitely whip this up for a cold-day lunch or a quick dinner and enjoy it within half an hour of starting it.
The only "issue" that I have is that two pounds of meat and two cans of beans doesn't really make all that much chili. If you're cooking for a lot of people (or if you, like Mick and I, can eat chili until you turn into a chili pot), you might want to up the quantities of the recipe. Or throw in some pulled chicken or what-have-you.
|This is before it simmered for an hour. Still, it looks great, huh?!|
*earlier in the week last week, Mick had said he was craving a nice delicious burger. We ended up having pizza that day. Naturally, for the rest of the week I craved a burger. Courtney and Dom were coming for dinner Sunday night and we were going to grill burgers and dogs, but the grill was finicky and the weather was iffy. Mick suggested a meatloaf since that had the potential to satisfy our lingering burger cravings. And since historically my meatloaves come out dense, I wanted a recipe. PW came to the rescue and if I hadn't had the chili recipe for today, I really would have made another meatloaf, because it was that easy, and that good.