In life, it’s important to know what keeps you going. What small parts of your everyday liturgy are the ones that allow you to rest and recharge. I’m not talking about setting aside two hours to curl up with Netflix. I’m talking about the little moments that you savor slowly in hopes of making them last a little longer. I have three:
1. The first sip of Starbucks in the morning
2. Folding laundry
3. Cooking dinner
Cooking, at least on nights when I’ve thought through what I want to make, and when I’m not in any rush, is such a luxury to me. When I have other mouths to feed, it’s even better. The other night, there were 5 of us for dinner at the (beach) table, and I was looking for something comforting. I love soups and stews that spend their day simmering on the stove, while you busy yourself with other important work (in this case, catching up on the just-for-fun reading I’ve been neglecting), but it’s always bothered me that I don’t have a good beef chili recipe in my arsenal. I swear by Ina’s chicken chili, but that’s non-traditional. Sometimes you want the classic stuff. I found a staple recipe from Cupcakes and Cashmere, and I’m so glad to have it in my back pocket now. It’s the kind of chili recipe that you can take in any number of directions to suit your needs. I already started tweaking her recipe by changing the turkey to beef, and adding a bottle of beer at the end. It makes the flavor so much more exciting.
To make chili for 5 or 6, you will need:
2 lb ground beef
2 white onions (medium dice)
4-5 garlic cloves (minced)
2 (28oz) cans of whole, peeled tomatoes
3 tbs chili powder
2-3 tbs canola oil
2 tbs Sriracha (optional)
1 1/2 tbs of kosher salt (less if you’re using Siracha)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cans black beans
1 can corn
1 bottle beer
Chili condiments (cheese, sour cream, avocado, broken-up tortilla chips)
Brown the beef in the bottom of a large pot. When it’s cooked through, set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate, and drain fat. Heat oil in bottom of same skillet and add onions, cooking 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands as you do. Return beef to pot and give everything a good stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Let sit on the stove at least 45 minutes, and up to a couple hours, checking to make sure there’s enough liquid at all times (adding water if need be). About 10 minutes before serving, rinse and drain the beans and corn. Add to pot with beer, and cook another 10 minutes. Serve hot with plenty of toppings.
*Yes, the picture has kidney beans, and my recipe does not. Kidney beans were the reason I hated beans for years. But, you know what? Beans are great. Except kidney beans. They’re just gross. I made a couple tweaks to Emily’s recipe when I made it, and one I’ll make in the future is ditching the kidneys in the name of more black beans.