I don’t know exactly what your week will entail.
I don’t know if you’ll have a couple of bonkers work deadlines to meet.
Or maybe you have some Spring Break stuff to be breaking.
Perhaps you’ll need to be reminded of Daylight Savings? Or maybe you’ll do some reminding yourself…
Will you be Bracketology anticipating?
Or After The Final Rose with Juan Pablo enjoying?
Maybe navigating yet another Team Olivia/Team Mellie/Team Cyrus/Team James twist is more your bag…
I don’t know.
You may be working, you may be playing, you may be recuperating, you may be caretaking, you may be driving, you may be walking, you may be doing a lot of things. But I have a feeling that, whatever you’re doing, this chili will fit extremely nicely into your game plan.
This particular chili has long been my go-to; I make it morning, noon and night, no matter what I’m doing, for the simple reason that you can customize it until your face falls off.
You can substitute ground turkey or chicken for either the pork or the beef.
You can spice things up or down by playing with the amount of chipotle chiles you add.
You can change up your beans.
You can add in some squash.
You can tell this chili what to do all day long and it will always reply with a ‘Whatever you say, boss.’
As if it wasn’t nice enough to be the boss for an entire day, you can also set and forget your chili by leaving it in the trusty care of your slow cooker.
Now you’re a boss with time to spare! Dig!
Here are some topping suggestions, just in case:
- Green onions
- Sour cream (I personally prefer crema, Mexican table cream, or it’s soured version, crema agria)
- Pickled jícama
- Shredded cheese (I often serve this chili with a milder cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Chihuahua or even queso Oaxaca)
- Crushed tortilla chips, corn chips or tostada shells
- Fresh lime wedges
- Cilantro (or parsley for the cilantro haters)
- Pickled corn
OK? Tell me what you’ll be doing this week! Tell me if you’re excited for it! Tell me if you’ll be fueling it with chili! And whatever you do, enjoy!
M.’s Best Black Bean Chili
1 1/2 lbs. 93/7 or 80/20 ground beef
1.2 lbs. lean ground pork
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp. garlic, minced
2- 29 oz. cans tomato purée
1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, diced
2 tbsp. adobo sauce (from the same can as above)
2 tbsp. chile de árbol, dried, ground (Note that if you do not have access to dried, ground chiles de árbol you may substitute chile powder or ground cayenne. I strongly recommend adding these alternative spices gradually as the chili cooks, however, since the three offer quite disparate amounts of heat.)
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
2 tsp. white pepper, ground
1 tsp. oregano, ground (preferably Mexican oregano)
To prepare the meat, lightly chop the grounds into smaller chunks. You don’t want to over handle the meat, but I have found that piecing the grounds by roughly chopping will allow it to brown more evenly and cook into a uniform chili more easily. Set meat aside to rest.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over a medium flame. Add the onion pieces and sauté until browned and fragrant, stirring frequently, approximately 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes more. Slowly stir in the ground meat. Once all of the meat has been added, cook until evenly browned but not cooked through, breaking up large pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, approximately 5 minutes more. Carefully stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours or until meat is cooked through and chili is thick and bubbling. Serve immediately with suggested optional toppings or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week.
YIELD: approximately 8 servings