Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hunger Challenge Chili

More Budget Cuisine.

Here's the recipe I created for the San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge. It features a pound of dried pinto beans, two pounds of ground meat and 12 servings.

For more about the Hunger Challenge, my participation, and how to donate, click here.
To see how the chili fits into the overall menu for the week, click here.

The recipe can, of course, be halved, if you don't need 12 servings. Feel free to substitute other types of beans and ground turkey or chicken for the beef. Up the jalapenos, garlic cloves and/or chili powder for more of a bite.

12-Serving Chili

This makes a mild, flavorful chili that reheats beautifully. Look for low-cost chili powder in ethnic food sections of supermarkets, at grocery discount outlets and dollar stores, or buy just as much spice as you need by the ounce at stores that carry bulk spices.

1 pound of dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, water drained and then cooked with fresh water. (Approximately six cups of cooked beans)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-4 jalapenos (I used red ones), seeded for milder kick if desired, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can (28-32 ounces) of diced, peeled tomatoes with juices
2 plus cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the pinto beans. Set aside.

In a large pot, add the oil and heat over medium high heat. Saute the beef, using spoon or spatula to break up any clumps. Cook until browned but not cooked through. (Work in batches if all the meat doesn't fit or if it doesn't seem to be browning. If the pan is too crowded the meat will steam rather than brown.) Remove to a plate or bowl and set aside. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of drippings out of pan. Heat on medium high, when a bit of onion sizzles immediately on contact with the oil, add the chopped onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion are beginning to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and the jalapenos, cook, stirring often, until the garlic is beginning to turn golden. Add the carrots and celery pieces, cook for a minute or two, stirring often. Add the chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute. Add diced tomato with juices and 2 cups of water. Mix well. Cover and let come to simmer (not quite boiling). Add meat with any liquids it may have exuded, stir well. Cover and return to simmer. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes until meat is cooked through and flavors well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste and additional chili powder if desired. Add additional water if needed. With cover off, return to simmer and let cook a few more minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

I served the chili with rice, with a bit of grated cheese on top. I also used it as a topping for baked potatoes. It would also be good with tortillas or pasta. Or use a half portion and scramble with eggs and tortilla chips for a kind of chilaquiles. Or try it with cornmeal to make a tamale casserole.

The chili reheats well, but will probably thicken a bit, so add some water to it when reheating. For the sake of the photo, I sprinkled some chopped cilantro on top of the chili. It adds a nice flavor and if I had had room in my weekly food budget under the Hunger Challenge I would have made it part of the recipe.


Maris said...

Chili is SUCH a great, budget friendly meal. Especially if you can get some of the ingrediens on sale.

FJKramer said...

Very true, Maris. Plus it is so adaptable in terms of type of meat, poultry, beans, veggies, etc. you use.