Chili is something that my family loves, but we rarely ever make it the same way twice. We've made Chili Con Cacao, using raw cacao nibs; I doubled the meat (beef and buffalo), the beans, the peppers, and the cacao-derivatives with a Double-Double-Double Chili; Pumpkin Chili and Pumpkin Cornbread made an appearance during one of my pumpkin-obsessed Octobers; and my Chili al Diavolo took the title of 'Grand Champion' at our friends' 4th of July chili cook-off.
So, when we were planning Riley's 10th birthday camping trip to Half Moon Bay State Beach, I decided that a pot of steaming, gently-spiced chili was just the ticket to stave off the gloom that descends on California's central coast come June first. June gloom last year. June gloom this year. For his birthday camping trip last year, I made a pot of seafood chowder. One year I'd love for it to be warm enough to serve gazpacho!
Here's the version of chili that I made for the crew of twenty, serving it with some rounds of Trader Joe's cornbread. Yum. It's best to make this the day before you are going to serve it so that the flavors have time to develop.
2 pounds of 96/4 ground beef
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 red peppers, deseeded and diced
1/2 L chocolate stout (I used a Trader Joe's beer)
1 can organic black beans
1 can organic red kidney beans
1 can organic garbanzo beans
splash of olive oil
2 C fresh tomato sauce
1 bottle beer (I used a wheat beer)
smoked sea salt
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
Sauté onions in a splash of olive oil till softened and translucent. Add ground beef and cook through completely. Add the chocolate stout and cook till the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the peppers. Season with paprika, cumin, ancho chili, smoked sea salt, flower pepper. Add in the beans. Stir in tomatoes, molasses, soy sauce, the other bottle of beer, and cocoa powder. Simmer for 40 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, and a side of cornbread.
*Update 1/4/2013: I am linking this recipe to Kate Martinelli's Chili Linky Party.*