The weather starts to crisp up, the sweaters come out and our whole way of looking at food changes. We want that big, comforting, steaming bowl of warmth. What is this comfort we crave? For me it’s the time of year that God brings us closer around the table…a time where he pulls us inside more to be together and it’s during those times that amazing meals are shared, and everyone lingers at the table just a little longer.
It’s simple meals served from one pot from the middle of the table, that I crave. One thing I can toss together and let stand all day then present like I actually slaved over it all day, haha! I am not a chili cook-off kind of girl, just want to feed my family something that will fill their tummies and warm them up. And whether I make this during the week so we have something ready to go on a busier evening or if I mix it up Sunday after church before settling down in front of the fire with a book, it always seems to do the trick.
We have two bean haters that probably eat more of what I serve with the chili than the actual chili itself. And I can’t blame them, I grew up not liking beans, and even today, I’ll take small beans over large ones any day. My mom knew then and knows now that I don’t love her chili, but I love that she knows that and loves me anyway 🙂 This recipe is a combination of my chili and my daughter’s chili recipe, which the boys raved over the first time she made it. I love this recipe because as always, you can switch up some of the ingredients and get creative with it or use it as is. If you like your chili thicker use less liquid, if you like it thinner, add more. Want it sweeter, increase the honey, not sweet at all, leave it out…you get the picture right?!?
Sweet & Sassy Chili
1 1/2 – 2 lbs ground beef, turkey or chicken
2 small white onions, chopped (whatever size you want)
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots chopped
3 cans of beans, your choice – I use black beans, small white beans, and a small red bean
1 can of corn-optional
5 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
(if you like it really spicy, add 1 tsp chili flakes)
1 15oz can of tomato sauce (I use crushed smooth tomatoes, but you can use whatever you like, diced, pureed, etc -my family has some kind of aversion to chunks of tomato so I use a smoother one)
1 32oz beef stock
2 TBSP honey
1 lime – use all the juice from it
1 handful of cilantro
Brown your meet, drain off any excess fat if any. Add onions, celery, carrots and spices to the meat and cook until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add all drained and rinsed beans, corn, tomatoes, stock, honey, and lime juice. Stir and let simmer for as long as you’d like – you can serve right away, but I would at least give it 20 minutes for some of the flavors to melt together. Right before serving add the handful of chopped fresh cilantro to the pot – it brightens it up (yes, it satisfies my need for something green) and adds a little extra depth of flavor. Serve in bowls…my kids like to add a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese to the top of theirs.