I make only two recipes in big batches with the intention of freezing most of it – tomato sauce and chili. They both freeze well, make prepping great dinners on rushed nights a breeze, and other than having to chop a few extra ingredients the overall time it takes to make them is the same.
There are 3,000 variations of chili, and I love every one of them. My go-to chili however is easy, relatively quick, and I cheat by using a premixed chili mix (Organic of course). If you want to kick it up a notch, check out our previous posts like this Mexican Chili Braised Short Ribs, Spicy Balsamic Chili, or Bacon Bison Chili.
Ingredients (4 servings + freezer portions for another 2 meals)
2-3lbs of ground meat (all ground beef, or all ground bison, or mix one of them 50/50 with ground pork. If you use 3lbs of meat, it’ll be a meatier chili… 2lbs is fine)
4 -5 onions, diced (I like to use 1 or 2 spanish onions in the mix, but all yellow/white is fine as well – just use whatever is in your fridge)
6 or so carrots, peeled and sliced
6 or so celery stocks, peeled and diced
6 or so garlic cloves (more is fine, you can never have too much garlic)
1 package of chili seasoning
1 package of lardons (optional – this will give you a bacony smoky flavour)
3 cans of whole tomatoes
2 cans white Cannellini beans
1 can of Kidney beans (listen, you need beans to make a chili… whether you use the combo of Cannellini and Kidney I’ve said, or Northern beans, or Black beans it really doesn’t matter – use what you have in your pantry. And of course, you could use dried beans, but then there’s the process of dealing with them. So for the purposes of this easy recipe, stick with canned beans)
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR THE TABLE: Grated cheddar or other cheese, diced up green onions, diced up hot pepper like jalapeno, Fresh crusty bread.
- In a large pot on medium heat, cook the carrots, onions and celery (otherwise known as the mirepoix). Give them time to reduce down – this is where the base flavour of the chili is born, don’t rush it. When the carrots are soft and can be cut with a wooden spatula, it’s ready.
- In a separate frying pan, brown the meat. You don’t have to do this in a separate pan, but I do it because I can get a good browning of the meat and also reduce the total cooking time to half. Add the chili seasoning.
- Add the meat to the large pot. Depending on how much fat you have, you can choose to remove some. I usually don’t.
- Add the whole tomatoes, but you need to squish them by hand one-by-one. Keep your fist up/palm down so that the juices squirt down into the pot and not up on to you. You might ask why I don’t use diced tomatoes… I simply find the resulting chili is better with hand crushed whole tomatoes. But if you used diced tomatoes, that’ll be fine. Do not use crushed tomatoes, the chili ends up with the consistency of a tomato sauce rather than a nice chunky chili. Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir occasionally, taste and adjust your seasoning. You can add more chili, kick up the heat with cayenne, or add other spices if you wish.
- Add the beans and simmer for another 30 minutes or so. The longer you simmer, the thicker your chili will be.
- Serve with fresh bread, grated cheese, diced up chili peppers, or whatever else you want.