Most home cooks have their favorite basic chili recipe. This is mine. I like it because it involves all the principles of my cooking philosophy: it is creative, simple, healthy, inexpensive, and delicious.
A generous amount of smoky chipotles in adobo, flavorful veggies, my own blend of chili seasonings, and a lower ratio of long-stewed lean meat make this dish richly flavored while being healthy and inexpensive. I add my favorite creative secretly healthy ingredient: pumpkin puree. It thickens the sauce without tasting "pumpkiny" at all. This is a simple chop and dump type of one pot recipe. I
recently got an Instant Pot, and this recipe works great in it. I can
make a long-cooked tasting chili with dried beans in an hour's cook
time. It also works well in the slow cooker or stovetop.
This recipe makes a lot and freezes well. Halve it if you're not having a party or don't want to have a freezer full of chili (who doesn't?).
Try it out and make it your own!
Perfect Recipe Project Chipotle Chili
2.5 lbs lean ground beef (you can substitute textured vegetable protein (TVP) for a vegetarian version. My friend did this and won a chili-cookoff! To moderate how much meat we eat, I will sometimes sub in 1 cup of dry TVP rehydrated in 1.5 cups warm water for 3/4 lbs of the meat.)
2 medium or one large onion, diced
3 bell peppers, diced
2 T garlic, minced
1 T paprika
2 T ground New Mexico chiles or ancho chiles (or more paprika if you have trouble locating these)
2 T ground cumin
1 1/2 T dried oregano leaves (Mexican oregano is best)
1 T worchestershire sauce
2 t Adobo seasoning, or salt to taste
3 10-15 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 15 oz cans beans or 1 lb dried beans, soaked overnight. If using dried beans, add extra 1/2 cup liquid, like beef broth or water. I like a mix of pinto and black beans.
1/2 can chipotles in adobo, mashed or blended to a paste. If you like it really spicy, add more. I usually use a whole can when I want a really spicy chili
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
Pico de gallo
Instant Pot or pressure cooker instructions:
Saute meat in Instant Pot on high until browned. Remove and set aside. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic until a bit caramelized. Add garlic and spices and saute for an additional minute. Add all remaining ingredients. If the Instant Pot is looking full, leave out the pumpkin puree and stir in after cooking. You don't want it to overflow. If using dried beans, set the Instant Pot to Beans/Chili for 40-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your beans. If using canned beans, set it to 30 minutes. When finished cooking, turn the valve for quick pressure release.
Modifications for stovetop or slow cooker:
Saute meat and veggies as described above. If cooking on stovetop, cover and simmer for 45 minutes (if using canned beans) or 1.5-2 hours (if using dried beans). If cooking in slow cooker, cook for 8 hours on low.