The weather is changing fast now and all of us here at Trimble Creek Lodge are getting ready for winter foods. Our son asked for his Grandpa Howard’s Simple Chili recipe so I thought I would share it here. I remember my Dad, Howard, would get home from work before Mom and start this simple chili in a big pot on our 1970’s avocado green kitchen stove, chopping and browning the ingredients while enjoying his cocktail of port wine mixed with 7-up. It truly is simple and delicious (the chili, not the port & 7-up!) and this chili won 1stplace at our kids’ Elementary School in 1995, ending up in the school cookbook, What’s Cookin’ at Claymont. I have included my variations here and like all good soup recipes, this one can be adjusted with great results based on what’s in your pantry.
1# or so Hamburger – Venison also works great. If you use venison, you’ll need a little olive oil to brown it since venison has practically zero fat.
3 Ribs Celery, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
2 Medium Onions, chopped
1 Large Can “Brooks Chili Hot Chili Beans” – about 32 oz or so
2 or More Medium Cans Dark Red Kidney Beans – Dad just dumped them in but I prefer to drain & rinse these before adding to the chili.
1 ½ Tbs. Chili Powder – or more to taste
1 ½ Tbs. Cumin – This was my addition – we love cumin – try it on popcorn!
1 tsp Black Pepper
3 or more garlic cloves, put through a press – Dad went for the speedy powdered version of garlic, using 1 teaspoon. We prefer fresh garlic but either fresh or powdered can be used.
1 tsp (or more to taste) Oregano
Four 15-oz or Two 28-oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes – Dad used a quart jar of Mom’s home canned tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. Since I eat every last one of Michael’s tomatoes, there are none left to can and we opt for the “store bought” canned tomatoes
1 Can of Beer – optional – This was my addition since I like a “soupier” version of chili. The beer gives the chili a nice tang, especially if you use a dark beer, and the alcohol cooks off as you simmer the chili.
1-2 Tbs. Lemon juice – another Lulu addition, added at the very end to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste when serving – OK, Howard didn’t use this but we love hot!
Salt to taste – Mom’s home canned tomatoes had less salt so I’ve found that I need significantly less salt than the 2 teaspoons in Howard’s recipe. Try just a dash or two at the end, after adding the lemon juice.
Directions: Slightly brown the meat while chopping your vegetables and enjoying a cocktail of your choice! Add the chopped veggies and cook a little longer. Add remaining ingredients, except the lemon juice & red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and then simmer uncovered 45 minutes or so. Add lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Dad would refrigerate his chili a day before eating it but we can never resist eating this hot off the stove. Enjoy and let us know what you think! Lulu