Standard Chili
By Kevin Berardinelli
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: At Least 3 hours

1-2 lbs. Chuck Ground Beef, 80% lean / 20% fat
1 Can Crushed Tomatoes
1-3 Fresh Tomatoes
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can of Corn
1 Regular Baking Potato
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno/Habanero (optional)
1 Onion
Parmesan Cheese
Hot Sauce of Choice
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Ground Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar (optional)

Plan ahead, because Cooking Longer = Tasting Better, to a good extent. I recommend letting the chili cook on low in the crock pot overnight, or at least for a good 3-4 hours to incorporate all of the flavors into each other.

Start by browning the beef (preferably in a non-stick frying pan) on med-high heat. You can add some spices now, but it is not necessary. While that is cooking, chop the pepper(s), onion, potato, and tomato into desirable sizes, and drain the corn and black beans. When the beef is brown, put it in the crock pot with the can of crushed tomato and turn it all on low, and cover it to keep it hot. Drain some of the grease, but leave a little in the pan.

Now fry the onion, pepper(s), and potato in the grease until the potatoes are softened, and add the chopped tomato drained corn, and drained black beans when those are almost done. Add some cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and a couple teaspoons of hot sauce to the mixture. Fry on low until it is all hot and mixed together. Now add this to the crock pot and mix thoroughly.

At this point, all ingredients are in the covered crock pot on the low setting. Here is where you are free to play with the flavor, by adding desirable amounts of any of your spices. Some fun additions include ketchup, barbeque sauce, honey, but for my first time I just added a bunch more cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.

Finally, let the chili cook on low for an extended period of time, keeping it covered, and obviously stirring every now and then as well as taste-testing to quell the hunger pangs. It can also easily be frozen for next week, and cooling before eating helps incorporate flavors at another level. ENJOY!

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