24 December 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Nan's Chili

Happy Christmas Eve, peeps! Ready for the holidays?

As per usual, I'm doing the last of my holiday shopping this morning and will likely get the bulk of my wrapping done once the kids hit their pillows. (You'd think I would plan in advance, given that Christmas happens at the same time every year without fail, but every year I'm surprised. I'm lazy. Whatever.) It's become a default tradition in our house that the young'uns go to bed Christmas Eve with an empty tree, and wake up Christmas morning with a full one.

Sounds fun, right?! That's because it is. At first our lack of planning and last-minute-Sally approach to holiday prep sent us into an unending shame-spiral, but now, to be honest, we all kind of like it. Waking up Christmas morning to a tree overflowing with gifts is pretty darned exciting!

It's how we roll. It's tradition.

Another tradition in our house is a Christmas Eve chili dinner. My Nanny made the very best chili; it's always been a family favourite. Unlike turkey and stuffing, which is strictly an annual event at Casa Kilfoyle, chili makes a regular appearance in our weekly menu: as soon as the weather turns cool, we crank up the burners and churn out pot after pot; we can't get enough.

I'm an absolute sucker for traditions, especially when it comes to meals (for sentimental reasons and also because it's way easier to eat the same thing every holiday than it is to dream up a new, fab meal for every occasion.) And because it's possibly our very favourite meal, Nan's chili has been our Christmas Eve meal since 1998 when the Boy came along and made us a family. We serve it piping hot on a bed of rice, with a buttered loaf of crusty bread, side salad and a big ol' bottle of wine (which really helps facilitate the uber-excellent job of midnight gift wrapping, and may or may not have been implicated in more than one instance of OH-MY-GOD-WE-FORGOT-TO-WRAP-SUCHANDSUCH!! Christmas Day pre-party wrapping blitzes).

I didn't expect to share this recipe with anyone else (not that it's a state secret but you know: "family" recipe and all that...) but honestly, it's too good not to. It's just back-to-basics delicious: what we like to call "good chow".

Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 25 minutes + 3+ hours | Serves: 6-8
  • 3 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 heaping tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 1 can (28 fl.oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (19 fl.oz.) red kidney beans, undrained
  • 2 cans (10 fl.oz.) condensed tomato soup
  • 5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Cooking Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, over medium-high heat. Finely dice onion; add to pan with 2 heaping tbsp garlic. Sauté one to two minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Into the pan, crumble ground beef by hand. Stir to mix thoroughly with onions and garlic; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Let brown, stirring regularly and breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper twice more throughout the cooking process: once when midway browned, and once near the end of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, combine remaining garlic, tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and chili flakes in a large soup pot. Stir to mix.
  5. To the contents of the soup pot, add the cooked ground beef mixture, including the cooking juices. Stir to mix thoroughly.
    The juice is particularly important: it provides much of the seasoned flavour to the dish. If you drain it off your chili will be bland and tasteless, which is why extra lean beef is best (to limit the fat levels of the dish)
  6. Simmer chili on low heat for a minimum of 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
  7. Serve, or let cool and refrigerate overnight; the more opportunities the flavours have to blend, the better it tastes. It's almost always more delicious the next day! Serve alone or on a bed of white rice, dressed with your toppings of choice. 

Wishing y'all a very, very merry; may your holiday be happy, healthy and safe.

From our family to yours, Happy Christmas.

xo April

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