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Baby its Cold Outside, Chili Weather

Chili Weather
Chili Weather

By having a stocked pantry it's easy to whip up a warm, hearty pot of chili when the weather turns chilly. It's one of my arsenal recipes that is quick and easy to create.

Canned beans are one of the 'staples' that I keep in the pantry. They are so useful in many dishes, use kidney beans or the large Italian white bean in salads, made into an emulsified dip, soup or into a chili. I fill my pantry with red and white kidney beans, cannelini beans and great northern beans; they all perform well in soups, stews and chili. Other pantry staples include canned crushed or whole tomatoes, tomato juice and even a splash of chicken stock.

I use a big cast iron Dutch oven and make a double batch, some I can freeze if we don't get around to eating it all. Brown the ground beef and turkey right in the Dutch oven with a little olive oil, breaking it up as you go and don't forget to season heavily with salt and pepper. Remember for best flavor I always use sea salt, never table salt; table salt will give you a slight metallic taste.

Remove the meat from the pan and drain off all but about two tablespoons of fat; brown the chopped onion lightly and if you like your chili hot, now is the time to add the minced pepper(s), stir and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add the meat back to the pan along with your remaining spices, stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and let the chili cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, then continue to cook for another 15 minutes. You can put a lid on the chili now let it rest on a very low heat or let it cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

If you can't (or don't) eat all the chili within three days, divvy it up into freezer bags and freeze for up to three months. Remember to label and date your freezer packages. For a quick defrost, place the bag into a pan of hot water, not boiling, and let it warm to a comfortable temperature.

Serve the chili with a grating of cheese, chopped onions, fresh Italian parsley, sour cream, cilantro or any topping that you like. It will help keep you warm on these unusual, at least in Southern California, chilly days.

Eat well.

1 1/2      pound each ground beef and ground turkey

              sea salt and pepper

1            large brown onion, chopped

1-2         jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced, optional

3            tablespoons chili powder, or more

1            15 oz. can each red kidney beans, black beans, cannelini beans, or any combination; drained and     rinsed

1            28 oz. can crushed or whole tomatoes, with juice

1            46 oz. bottle tomato juice

1            cup chicken stock