But July is prime chili time, because July is prime fresh produce time! When else can I go into my back yard, pick peppers and onions and tomatoes, come inside and cook them into a delicious chili straight away?
So I say, "Go ahead and enjoy this winter treat now, while the produce is at its prime." And don't leave out the special ingredients, either. They make the recipe.
Chunky Veggie Chili
What You Need:
- 1 lb ground chuck
- 2 large sweet bell peppers in any color, seeded and diced into 1" pieces
- 1 large onion, Vidalia if possible, diced into 1" chunks
- 6 sweet banana peppers, seeded and sliced into 3/4" rounds (you can use another bell pepper if you prefer)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 28 oz can drained diced tomatoes
- 2 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (I used black soybeans)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp chipotle powder (this lends a smokey flavor, and it's wonderful)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt (omit if your tomatoes are already salted)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (yes, really)
- Brown the beef while chopping your vegetables. Heat the oil in a stockpot and add the vegetables to it. Stir and saute until the beef is browned. Drain the fat off the beef and add the beef to the vegetables in the stockpot.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. Stir in beans.
- Cook over medium-low heat at least an hour. Longer is better. What I like to do is simmer it on the stove for 30 minutes or so, then transfer it to the slow cooker and cook it on low for a couple hours. This lets the flavors mingle and keeps me from babysitting the pot. If you choose to cook it the entire time on the stove, be sure to stir often to keep things from sticking.
- Serve with hunks of cornbread and top the chili with sour cream and shredded cheese.