"It has all the hallmarks of diner chili."
On the official chili allegiance list, you'll see my name forever pledged to Texas chili. I'll spare the adjectives, and just say that the thick bowl of red is one of my favorite foods. So what am I doing with this guy, one that uses ground beef, loads of tomatoes, and, gasp, beans! See, I grew up in the Midwest and have a true soft spot for this style which seems to be served at every diner across the Heartland. I have some fond memories, but could I translate that into a recipe that actually tasted good?
I fell for this recipe from Bon Appetit immediately. It has all the hallmarks of diner chili: loads of tomatoes and more vegetables than you can imagine. Yet it is also peppered with some interesting additions. Thanks to the toasted cumin and coriander, it has a truly haunting aroma. There's also a teeny teaspoon of chipotle, something I may add much more of next time. But this dish isn't about the heat. It's about pure comfort.
This recipe won't replace my love for authentic Texas chili, but it is surprisingly tasty dish perfect for the upcoming fall chill.
- 3/4 tablespoon cumin seed
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander seed
- 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped
- 3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
- 6 ounces dark beer (like stout)
- Sour cream
- Scallions, thinly sliced
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper
Add the cumin and coriander seed to a small skillet set over medium heat. Toast the spices, shaking the pan often, until they darken slightly, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Then grind.
Cook the beef in batches in a large skillet set over medium-high until it is no longer pink. Set the cooked beef aside for a few minutes. Drain off any fat and juices that collect.
Meanwhile, pour the canola oil into a large pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, red pepper, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring often, until very soft. This should take about 15 minutes.
Add the browned beef, spices, chili powder, chopped chipotles, tomatoes, beans, and beer to the large pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Ladle some chili into a bowl. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of scallion and cheese.