Most Delicious, Versatile Chili
Chili is one of those wonderful comfort foods. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy it on a cold winter’s evening or during a summer potluck. It always hits the spot. I love Chili and have to admit, that my favorite always used to be Wendy’s Chili. Sadly, it has way too many calories, too much sodium and too much sugar. My goal was to find a delicious but healthier option. I experimented for a while, always trying different recipes. And I am happy to report that I finally found the perfect combination of healthy and knock-me-over-delicious. And what makes this chili even better is that you can substitute ingredients to cater to your taste and needs.
Start with three types of dried beans.
- 1/2 cup Red Kidney
- 1/2 cup Black Beans
- 1/2 cup Navy beans
Wash the beans thoroughly, place them in a pot, and cover them with water, two inches above the beans. Bring beans to a boil for two minutes, then turn the stove off and let the beans rest for an hour.
I prefer cooking my beans from scratch because it allows me to control how much salt or other ingredients are added. If you would like to save time, you can skip this step and instead use 2 cans of beans (Kidney Beans & Black Beans) and add them (drained and rinsed) with the tomatoes.
After the hour or more of rest, re-heat beans, cooking slowly for about 40 minutes.
Prepare the vegetables:
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, diced small
- 2 stalks of celery, diced small
- I Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Cook garlic, onions and celery until onions are translucent.
- 1 lb of 98% fat free hamburger meat (or ground turkey or ground chicken)
Brown the meat with the vegetables.
- 3 carrots, diced tiny or grated
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 sweet potato, chopped
Cook these vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring periodically while you add spices:
- 1 Tablespoon dried Oregano
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 2 teaspoons Salt (you can omit if you wish)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Stir well, then add:
- 2 Cups of good Beef Stock (Low Sodium if you have to watch your salt intake)
- 1 can tomato paste (no salt added)
- 1 large can whole tomatoes, cut into quarters (no salt added)
Drain your beans, then add them to the pot. Let your chili simmer on low for for 3-4 hours until beans are tender. You can also use a crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 hours.
You can eat your chili just like this or top it with a little Sour Cream (light) and a bit of grated cheese (low fat cheese of your choice).