I love chili just about any way you cook it.  Even though chili is traditionally chilly weather food (hardy har har) I had this on the meal plan on an unseasonably warm day.  I could have just pushed it back a day since the temps have dropped 30 degrees so far this morning and still plunging.  Oh well.

Growing up chili meant small cubed beef slow cooked for hours with spices and seasonings until it was melt in your mouth tender and fiery hot.  Served with saltines or cornbread only and a sprinkling of cheese.  Beans in the chili…. NO WAY!  Serve the chili over rice…. blasphemy!  Things have changed a bit and I’ve seen the light.  Beans have such a great nutritional value (no fat, lots of fiber) that we eat them pretty frequently and I add them to almost any recipe that calls for ground meat.  They are a great healthy way to stretch a pound of lean ground beef or turkey a little farther in chili, tacos and even burgers.

A couple of weeks ago I bought two cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Chipotles are smoked jalapenos and they can be pretty spicy.  The flavor of the adobo sauce is wonderful and I’m definitely going to be looking for more ways to use this ingredient.  Half a can has been hanging out in my fridge and I thought this might be a great opportunity to use it up.  I omitted the cayenne pepper I usually use in my chili and replaced it with the chipotles.  They definitely added a smokey heat.

I’m confessing right now that I love Wick Fowler’s 2 Alarm Chili Kit.  The contents are premeasured packets of the spices used to season chili.  It contains chili powder, cumin, oregano, dehydrated onion, garlic, salt, masa and cayenne pepper.  I always leave out the salt and sometimes the masa if the chili is thick enough.  This time I substituted the chipotle peppers for the cayenne.

Chipotle Chili

serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef

1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 cans beans (about 3 cups cooked beans) – I used red kidney beans (you could leave out the beans and use 2 pounds of meat)

Contents of Wick Fowler’s 2 Alarm or False Alarm chili kit, minus the salt, masa and cayenne pepper*

3-4 chiplote peppers, finely diced including about 3-4 tbs of the adobo sauce

2 cups water

*  I searched for information about the measurements of the spices in the packets and came up empty handed.  If I had to guess I would say 1/8 cup chili powder, 1 Tbs each cumin,  dehydrated onion, 1 tsp each garlic powder and oregano.  I’m going to make it a point to measure it next time.

Directions:

Brown ground beef in large pot.  Drain and rinse to remove any excess fat.

Stir in diced tomatoes and tomato paste until paste is incorporated.  Add beans, spice packets and chiplotle peppers.  Stir to combine and add water.

Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You can add a little more water if the chili gets to be too thick.

Nutritional Info: 295 calories, 6 gram fat, 29 grams carbs, 9 grams fiber, 30 grams protein

How do you like your chili?  Beans or no?  What do you serve it with?

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