Halloween Chili

So, I couldn’t let this year’s Halloween pass by without divulging a bit on our family tradition.  I grew up in Colorado so typically, by the time Halloween rolls around, it’s pretty dogon cold out there. I have distinct memories as a child of dressing up in these elaborate costumes my mother would graciously sew for us, only to cover it all up with my big winter coat, gloves and hat. But hey, when candy calls, we would endure anything necessary, even the season’s first snow blizzard!

When me and my 2 sisters ( as well as my poor dad who would always chaperone our candy-seeking adventure) would finally arrive back home from yet another night of successful trick-o-treating, we would be freezing!  Every year, my folks would make a big pot of warming homemade chili and cornbread and let me tell you, it was delicious! Well, we’re all grown up now with many children of our own, but we still hold to our Halloween chili tradition and I look forward to it year after year.  So, check it out…from my family to yours…Happy Halloween!

Halloween Chili

Serves 10-12/ Prep and Cooking Time 3 hours

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound organic ground beef or chicken
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon(s) grapeseed oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1  green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1  red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 2  jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon(s) turmeric
  • 3 tablespoon(s) paprika
  • 2 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
  • 12 ounce(s) organic vegetable or beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1 cup(s) diced tomatoes
  • 8  sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), snipped into small pieces
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 3 cup(s) kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup(s) chopped fresh cilantro
  • dash of lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a crock pot or dutch oven over high medium-heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the pot. Add onions and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Add garlic, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, paprika and oregano. Stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth and maple syrup and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for about 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves.
  4. Cover and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours.
  5. Add beans; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chili has thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
  6. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and/or minced onion.
You can easily turn this into a vegetarian dish by skipping the meat and adding in another bean variety such as kidney beans, black beans or navy beans!
A couple hints…
  • The longer you let the chili simmer on low heat, the more flavorful and thicker it will be.
  • You can easily work this up in a large crock pot which keeps the chili warmed throughout the evening without scorching.
  • If you use canned beans, make sure to rinse very, very thoroughly before adding to the chili.
  • Instead of the more common chili garnish, such as sour cream and grated cheese, try fresh, sliced avocado instead! Yum!
Enjoy!

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