The combination of enduring a spate of drab grey days and watching my pepper plants edge their way into fruition has made me yearn for a bowlful of chili with an exquisite spicy smolder as of late. Serendipitously, our habanero plant suddenly exploded with ripe red bounty over the weekend. I jumped at the chance to mince one up for the chili cause. This post contains what I refer to as my master chili recipe - a personal, perfected concoction that is excellent as is, and provides the general foundation for any variations I have made or will make in the future. Good eats for the late summer evenings swollen with storm, to tide us over while we all wait patiently for fall.
Master Chili Recipe
Makes 2-4 servings
*1 lb lean ground hamburger
*1 yellow onion, finely chopped
*4 cloves garlic, minced
*1 habanero, minced
*1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
*3 teaspoons dried oregano
*1 teaspoon maple syrup
*3 tablespoons chili powder
*1 teaspoon smoked paprika
*S&P to taste
*1 minced chipotle in adobo
*1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (I use Cento)
*1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
*1 cup brewed chicory coffee (regular coffee will sub in a pinch)
*3/4-1 cup stout beer (Try to avoid using an overly sweet stout. Something with a subtle bite of bitterness to it like Dogfish Chicory Stout or North Coast Old Rasputin works exceptionally well)
Brown the meat in a large dutch oven, drain fat, and set the beef aside. Give the pot a nice oiling, add the diced onions and sweat them out until they are limp, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and habanero, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Be wary of the initial fumes coming off that pepper, as they can be strong! Add the spices and stir for another minute before adding the can of tomatoes, the beans, coffee, beer, maple syrup, and chipotle pepper. Bring to a boil, add the beef then reduce to low and simmer partially covered for at least 45 minutes, or indefinitely. I usually transfer it to a slow cooker set to low and keep it going all afternoon before serving.
Garnish with some good meltin’ cheese (I use a wonderful habanero cheddar), sour cream, toasted pepitas, green onions, or whatever your preferred chili topping may be!