Everyone has their own idea of what "world class" means when you're talking about chili. This is a pretty basic version, but it is chili as I think Amanda would prepare it: simple but hearty, filling and flavorful. Feel free to adjust the hotness of the chili by increasing or decreasing the chipotle powder (which adds a nice smoky flavor), or add your favorite hot sauce or cayenne. Of course, this chili would taste wonderful after a pickup basketball game and is ample to feed two hungry boys, a mother, and two agents—one male and one female!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef, preferably ground chuck or round
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons mild chili powder
˝ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1˝ cups water
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in tomato juice
2 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans
In a 5- to 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is tender and just starting to brown. Add the ground beef, garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to break up the beef and mix the onion and spices with the meat, then continue cooking over medium heat until the beef loses its pink color. Add the water and tomatoes and stir well. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chili simmer for an hour or two, depending on what fits your schedule.
If desired, skim as much fat off the surface of the chili as possible. Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning, adding more chipotle powder if you want to add more heat. (Long simmering can decrease the hotness of the chili as the flavors mellow and blend.) When it is seasoned to your taste, add the kidney beans. Continue simmering at least 15 minutes more before serving. Serves 6 to 8.
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