2 to 3 pounds lean ground beef
1 or 2 large chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried ground cumin or to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano or to taste
2 tablespoons chili powder or to taste (fresh chile peppers may be substituted)
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups tomato puree, tomato sauce, or fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or a combination of all three)
2 to 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans beef broth*
1 to 2 tablespoons molasses**
2 cans black beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
* I also like to substitute red wine for some of the liquid. Water may also be substituted for some of the liquid. NOTE: I usually add a lot of red wine.
** Molasses helps cut down the acidity of the tomatoes. Honey may also be substituted.
Stove Top Method:
In a large soup pot or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute ground beef, onion, and garlic until the meat becomes gray in color; drain off fat and discard. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and beef broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, approximately 3 to 4 hours, stirring often. Note: Additional beef broth, water, or wine may be added as needed.
Add molasses to taste to cut down the acidity of the tomatoes. Add beans and continue to simmer another 30 minutes. NOTE: During the last 30 minutes of cooking, do a lot of tasting and adjust seasoning to taste.
For maximum flavor, cool chili and refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow as chili is best made 1 day ahead to allow the flavors time to marry.
When ready to serve, remove top layer of solidified fat, reheat chili over low heat, and serve in large individual bowls.
Set out garnishes for your chili (some chopped green onions, sour cream and shredded sharp cheddar cheese make great topping).
Makes 8 to 12 servings.
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) Method:
Preheat slow cooker.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until browned; drain off fat and discard. Add onion and garlic and sautuntil the onions become soft and translucent, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir into beef mixture and cook for a couple minutes longer.
Add the cooked beef mixture to the slow cooker along with tomato sauce, beef broth, molasses, and beans. Stir together to combine and cover with slow cooker lid. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or high heat for 4 to 5 hours.
Serve in bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Makes 8 to 12 servings.