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Chili with beef and beans

If there's a perfect dish health-wise, Chili might just be it. It's packed with protein and healthy carbs, and has just the right amount of fat to help us feel full and satisfied. Chili is not only a great meal on it's own, it's also a great snack. A mid afternoon cup of chili is a perfect snack, and will curb the appetite, to ward off the munchies the rest of the day. This recipe is a bit more complex than others, but the end product is worth it. Plus, since this recipe produces a lot of chili, you can freeze servings to warm up weeks later, for quick, healthy weeknight meals.


Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef chuck or other lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped (red bell pepper also makes it tasty)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Kosher salt

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bottle of smooth tasting beer (not an IPA or hoppy beer, I use Yuengling)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 quart beef broth, to start with, but probably more, depending on the consistency you want

3 15-ounce cans of beans--black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans--any combination of beans, drained and rinsed.

1 tablespoon hot sauce, if desired.

Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or sour cream or yogurt, for topping.


Directions:

In a stewpot or other pot suitable for soups and stews, heat a small amount of oil; add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan. Heat another small amount of oil in the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 6 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the beer and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the beef and any juices from the plate; add the cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth, and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens and flavors are well combined, about an hour. Test spices and add more, to taste. If chili is too thick, add some more beef broth (I usually end up using 2 quarts of broth), and simmer a few minutes longer. Stir the hot sauce into the chili, if using, and add more salt, to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, scallions, sour cream or yogurt, or other favorite chili toppings.

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