Friday, January 24, 2014

Beef & Beer Chili

You might have heard that there's a football game coming up next week. They call it "The Superbowl." According to some, it's kind of a big deal. If you haven't watched The Superbowl before, allow me to describe it for you.

There will be three types of people watching The Superbowl: 1.) Football Fans, 2.) Fans of a team playing in The Superbowl (Let's call them "Invested Fans."), and 3.) Everybody Else. As people gather around the TV and the kick-off nears, Invested Fans will begin to pace nervously and exhibit other symptoms of general anxiety. They may giggle inappropriately or hush the crowd so they can hear every.single.thing. happening on TV. Invested Fans will need food—lots of food. And beers—lots of beers. Football Fans will get rowdy and excited. They will hoot and holler during big plays. There will be cheering, jeering, hissing, and dissing. Football Fans will need food—lots of food. And beers—lots of beers. Everybody Else will hover around the snack table until a commercial break, at which point they will hightail it to the TV and tell all the Fans to shut up so they can decide for themselves if Budweiser or Miller has better ads. Everybody Else will need food—lots of food. And beers—lots of beers.

Today I have a recipe to take care of all the hungry masses watching The Superbowl: Beef & Beer Chili. Richly flavored, but not too spicy, this meal is a crowd-pleaser. It re-heats beautifully and stays warm on the stove until you're ready to stuff your face, so feel free to make it ahead. My mom always serves Beef & Beer Chili over elbow noodles just the way she ordered it at the Steak N Shake as a kid, but it's also delicious straight up, over a baked potato, or scooped up with tortilla chips.

Whether you're watching the game or the commercials, I hope Beef & Beer chili makes your Superbowl viewing experience extra special.

Oh, and, for the record...Go, Seahawks!

Beef & Beer Chili
Adapted from Wegmans
Serves: A TON of people

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
7 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (Truth: I usually use the cheapest kind we have.)
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 (12-ounce) bottles chili sauce (If you haven't used chili's this stuff.)
For serving (optional):
Cooked elbow noodles
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped raw onion

In a large Dutch oven heat oil on medium-high. Add half of the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until beef is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove to a separate plate and repeat with the remaining ground beef, removing it to the plate once it's cooked through. (Cooking the ground beef in two batches allows it to brown and sear instead of steaming it in an over-crowded pan.)

If the pan is dry and an additional 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add Worcestershire sauce; cook for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for 5 minutes to allow the spices to toast. Stir in the beer and cook for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Return cooked beef to the pan. Stir in kidney beans, cannellini beans, and chili sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked noodles and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or onions.

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