When I married Corey, I quickly discovered that I was going to have to learn to like and make chili. Being that mild salsa makes me sweat (oh, if only I was joking) chili was a food that never really appealed to me. My Mom made it once in a while when I was a kid, but it certainly wasn’t something we had on a regular basis. Maybe it had something to do with my dislike, or, maybe it had something to do with a certain male who lived in our house who was able to sedate an entire province with the gas that seemed to accompany said chili. Whatever the case it wasn’t something we ate a lot.
So, when Corey came along and started talking “Chili this and Tim Horton’s Chili that” I knew I was in trouble. Then I had a bite of his Chili at Timmy Ho’s one night and made a wicked discovery – I liked it! Thus the search for the perfect chili recipe was born.
For 4 years I made chili by adding kidney beans and chili powder to my regular spaghetti sauce (which btw rocks and is totally homemade, and will arrive here at a later date), it was good-ish, Corey was happy and we plugged along that way. The kids would eat it, but they always picked out the kidney beans and I hardly made it.
Then one day I woke up and decided enough was enough. This recipe needed a makeover and I was going to pull out the tools and get ‘er done. And I did! I added somethings, I changed others and most importantly I took on the kidney bean situation.
Most grocery stores sell canned beans, and I always purchased the kidney beans packed in water. They are the easiest to use, have the same nutritional value as the dried ones (ps. this is where you read between the lines and discover that I’m way to lazy to rehydrated beans) and are the only bean I thought belonged in chili. But when our girls discovered their intense love of chickpeas, I started to rethink that theory. I mean if Ministrone soup could do it why couldn’t chili?
Introducing the 6 bean mix. Right next door to the kidney bean cans, were the 6 bean mix cans. While they contain kidney beans they also contain 5 other beans (because I totally can’t remember all their names) including chickpeas! This mix is awesome, and because the kidney beans are in small quantities the girls don’t complain, while they gobble up the rest of the beans in delight. They even fight over who gets more chickpeas!
Anyways, this recipe is a favourite, and is best served on a cold rainy day with warm biscuits. I almost always put ours in the slow cooker and let it simmer all day (quite often over night and all day too!), which just lets the flavours mix and the house smell awesome! But you could cook it in a few hours too if you are in a pinch, just be prepared for the leftovers to be a billion times better than the first serving.
Ashley’s 6 Bean Chili
– 1lb (450g) Extra Lean Ground Beef
– 1 Large White Onion (chopped medium)
– 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 3 Garlic Cloves (if you like more add more!)
– 1 Medium Yellow Pepper (chopped medium)
– 2 Medium Celery Stalks (sometimes I add a third because my girls LOVE celery! And also, chopped in medium chunks)
– 2 Cups of Raw Mushrooms (can substitute with canned mushrooms) – sliced
– 1 Medium Carrot unpeeled – grated (adds a great sweetness)
– 1 Large Can of diced tomatoes in juice
– 1 Can 6 Bean Mix
– 1/2 Cup of Beef Stock (not to be skipped! It’s the deal breaker)
– 3 Cups Tomato Sauce
– 2 tbsp of Tomato Paste
– 2 tbsp of Chili Powder (you can add more or use real chilis but I dislike the heat, so this is just enough to taste like chili)
– 1/2 tsp of Seasoning Salt
– Black Pepper to taste
– 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
1. Heat frying pan on medium/high heat and add Olive Oil, when pan is hot add ground beef and garlic
2. When the meat is just starting to turn brown add medium onion and cook until clear and beef is cooked. Pour mixture into slow cooker or Dutch Oven
3. Return pan to heat and add celery, mushrooms, yellow pepper and carrot. Fry for about 2 minutes or until mushrooms have cooked. Add to beef mixture.
4. Return pan to heat, add diced tomatoes and juice, tomato paste and beans. Let cook about a minute until paste has melted, add to beef mixture.
5. Add remaining ingredients to beef mixture and stir well.
6. If you’re using a slow cooker, turn it on low for a minimum of 6 hours to allow the flavours to really mix. If you’re using a dutch oven cook on low/medium heat for approx 3 hours.
7. Serve with Rich Tea Biscuits (see recipe HERE, also used as my pizza crust) and grated cheese (we like a mix of cheddar and mozza sprinkled on top) (also, if you have children, we always give the girls their own cheese in their own bowl to sprinkle. Makes it more fun and easier to get them to eat!)
How do you like your chili – hot and spicy or mild and sweet?