Housewarming Chili

We opened our new place to our friends a few months ago to warm up the house. What better way to do it than to serve our guests some hearty, rib-sticking, spicy chili! I love how chili is a one pot meal and leftovers can be frozen for additional meals down the road. Chili is the epitome of comfort food and homemade renditions are always tastier compared to restaurant versions. In Ho Chi Minh City, good chili is hard to come by. The place we used to go for a decent chili (slightly sweet) cheese dog, Java Cafe, recently closed its doors. Now we must enjoy chili at home, which is not necessarily a bad thing as I made another batch for a low key New Year’s weekend meal.

The secret ingredient to this chili is taco seasoning! I tried to make due with what I have in my stockpile of personal imports from our trips back home. When I read the ingredients in TJ’s taco seasoning packet, it had all the spices I needed to make a tasty chili. The recipe is excellent for making chili cheese dogs, our favorite way to enjoy this easy and satisfying chili. And yes, we ate chili dogs for our NYE dinner; oh so classy!

Simply Chili
Makes about 6 servings

1 pound of ground beef
4 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 cup of diced onions
1 bell pepper diced
3 jalapenos diced with the seeds and capsaicin removed
1 15 ounce can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15 ounce can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 14 ounce can of beef broth
1 14 ounce can of whole stewed tomatoes
3 tablespoons of taco seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce or more to taste (optional, I like the extra kick)
Salt and pepper to taste

FOR SERVING (optional)
Shredded cheese
Diced onions
Green onions
Sour cream
Bacon crumbs

In a large pot, brown the beef. Add the bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, and onions to the pot. Saute until the onions look translucent. Add the beans, beef broth, stewed tomatoes, TJ’s taco seasoning. Bring everything to a boil and then turn down the heat to low/medium for the chili to simmer. Cook for at least an hour stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce and the beans will thicken the chili. When it reduces to your preferred consistency, season the chili with Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper. Serve with your favorite garnishes!


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