Fall is finally upon us, but here in Texas, the Weather Gods are laughing in our faces and telling us to put those flannel shirts and fuzzy socks back in the closet because IT'S STILL FRICKIN' HOT OUTSIDE.
Well, jokes on you, weather, because I got randomly in the mood to make one of my favorite chilis the other day, and guess what: It's dead easy to make and takes less than an hour and some change to prep, cook, and serve (even faster if you're going meatless)!
Just look at that beautiful bowl of red (yes, I know there are beans, we're in the South, that's a no no, shut it)
My dad makes this chili every so often in the fall and winter, and while I have tasted some wonderful chili that's taken hours to make or someones great-great-grandad gave them the recipe, this quick little mix from a pouch with some added stew meat gets me thinking of crisp air, fallen leaves, and watching my beloved Cowboys and Red Raiders (Guns up) play on tv while I'm hunkered on the couch in my sweat pants debating if I want a third bowl or not.
P.S. For the love of all that is holy, someone take me to a Cowboys game. Seriously. I've never been. Let's go.
The aformentioned pouch of chili mix
Let's get moving!
Ingredients: As always, my deviations and musings are in red
- 1 package of Bear Creek Darn Good Chili (Fun fact: When I was younger, this chili used to be called 'Damn Good' but they changed the name to say 'Darn' instead. I always thought that was pretty funny)
- 1 teaspoon of cooking oil (whatever you want, I used canola)
- 1 6oz can of tomato paste
- 7 cups of water
- 1 package of stew meat (uncooked) You are more than welcome to use any kind of meat you like, ground beef, chicken, turkey, etc. would all work well, or even leave it out if that's how you roll.
** Unfortunately for some, even without the added meat this mix is still not vegetarian friendly as there is beef stock already included.
The gist of your ingredients (minus the water because my measuring cup was dirty in the sink before I washed it)
1. Preheat a pan with a teaspoon of cooking oil to medium heat.
2. Open up your package of beef (or whatever you're using). If the chunks are a little bit too big, like mine were, cut those down to smaller bite size pieces. Nobody likes their meat to chili ratio to be off when you're pile-driving it into your face.
A look at my meat before and after cutting to bite size pieces
3. Once your pan is well heated, add your meat to the pan and cook for 30 minutes, stirring/turning over every so often to prevent burning (Okay, here's where I differed from my Dads method. I only cooked my meat for 15 min because it was straight up starting to get a little more cooked than I personally like. And my meat was cut pretty small so that may have also been a factor. He says that he likes to cook it for the full 30min to get the meat tender, but you do you).
**Always be sure to check your meat no matter how long you cook it. I tasted mine and burned off half my taste buds, so I recommend either cutting it or making someone else try it so you don't maim yourself
4. Once your meat is done, move that pan aside and use whatever pot/dutch oven/etc. you're using to cook your chili in. Place it on the burner. Add 7 cups of water and get it to a good boil (no adding salt or oil, I already know 3 of you that are going to do it anyway so I don't know why I'm saying this).
When the water is good and boiling, add in your mix and tomato paste. Make sure to whisk it (or use a spoon, whatever's available), to make sure everything is good and mixed together. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
I only had one hand so I couldn't scrape the can and shoot at the same time. Way more than that spoonful went in.
Stir occasionally, or that chili will stick to the bottom of your pot (trust me).
5. Yay, you're done! I like to add some grated cheese and a side of crackers to mine (my grandma on the other hand likes Louisiana hot sauce because she goes for the 'hurts so good' philosophy).
Closeup of the goods. From here you can see the 3 different kinds of beans and rice that come included.
NOW is the time you can add salt or pepper to taste.
Pro tip: I fed 5 people (one of them two times, I'll let you take a guess exactly who that was) and had two bowls of leftovers for the next day. If you're planning on feeding a crowd, go for another pouch and can of chili to appease the masses.
Side note: I personally didn't have this problem, but my grandma thought that the tomato flavor was coming through a little strongly (but she ate her whole bowl, so who knows). If you or someone who is eating doesn't particularly enjoy tomato flavor, you can always cut down your tomato paste by a bit (or tell them to go get their chili from Wendy's drive-thru. I'll let you decide).
Proof other people actually ate and enjoyed this chili of mine!
As always, I am not affiliated with Bear Creek Country Kitchens whatsoever, I just really like this fast, cheap, and simple chili. You can knock it together for a family meal, a contribution to the community pot luck, or enjoy it at a tailgate in the front yard.