By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
Back when I was a kid, growing up in Oklahoma, coming from a large family wasn’t as big a deal like it is today. There were five of us kids, plus mom and dad….so meal time was an exercise in culinary achievement. In order to stay on budget and get food to the table in a timely manner, we had quite a few one pot meals.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple and contained. For one, there was a lot fewer dishes to wash and in our house…whomever cooked, tended to also be the one to clean the kitchen afterwards. Secondly, I learned how to create a balanced meal in a single bowl.
In the Midwest, Chili is probably the quintessential one pot meal, that each family keeps it’s own recipe, a closely guarded secret. Even in our household, I watched mom make it more times than I can count and no matter how hard I tried…it just didn’t come out the same hers. So, I honestly gave up trying to duplicate that family recipe.
With basic ingredients and flavor profiles under my belt, I spent the next 20 years coming up with a recipe that made me homesick for moms chili, yet had all the hallmarks of my updated take on American Classics.
- 1 Lb. Ground Pork
- 1 Lb. Ground Beef
- 1 Lb. Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut Into 1″ Pieces
- 3 Large Boneless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Medium Size Cubes
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, Chopped Fine
- 2 Large Purple Onions, Chopped Medium
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped Fine
- 2 Large Cans Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 Large Cans Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
- 3 Small Cans Tomato Paste
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped Fine
- 1 Small Jar Whole Grain Mustard
- 5 Dashes Worcester Sauce
- 2 Tbs. Sriracha Hot Sauce
- 3 Tbs. Liquid Smoke
- 5 Tbs. Parsley
- 5 Tbs. Oregano
- 1 Tbs. Cumin
- 1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 3 Tbs. Paprika
- 1 Tbs. Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tbs. Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Tbs. Expresso Powder/ Grounds
- Olive Oil
- Take a extra large stock pot and place onto the back burner of your stove over a medium-high heat. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of olive oil into the pot and let it heat up. Once your oil is hot, add your ground beef, ground pork, bacon pieces and cubes of chicken. Stirring occasionally, brown your ground meat and continue cooking until your bacon pieces are about halfway cooked. They should be translucent and chewy. Drain the fat from your meat and return your stock pot to the back burner of the stove. Cooking Tip: This is where you can finish the chili in a large Crock Pot if you so wish. Cook on medium for 6-8 hours.
- To your stock pot, add your cans of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chopped sun dried tomatoes. Lower you heat to a medium heat and stir your meats and tomatoes to combine.
- Next, add your red bell peppers, purple onions, garlic, kidney beans and chicken broth. Mix together well with a large wooden spoon.
- Then add the Whole Grain Mustard, Worcester Sauce, Liquid Smoke, Sriracha Sauce. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Now, add your remaining dry spices. The cumin, cinnamon, parsley, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, cracked black pepper, chili powder and Expresso grounds/ powder. Again stir extremely well to incorporate all of the spices into your chili base. Bring your chili to a low boil, stirring regularly and making sure that you keep it covered to avoid splashes.
- Once you have achieved a low boil state, reduce your heat to a low/simmer. Cook covered for at least 3 1/2 – 4 hours for optimum flavor and to ensure it has reduced to a nice, thick consistency. Stir a few times per hour to avoid the burning of the tomato sauce or the meat sticking to the bottom. After about two hours or so, if you see that it has not reduced enough for you, then slightly shift the cover to let some steam escape the stock pot. Just be sure to stir more frequently to avoid sticking and burning.
- Enjoy a bowl of this Simple, American Classic Chili with fresh tortillas, oyster crackers or maybe your favorite corn chip. This brings in flavors and textures from other parts of the world to an updated dish that almost every culture in the world has a version of…..now its time to start developing your families version.