This recipe is a little higher in veggies than some, reasonably low fat, and absolutely delicious in cold weather. (See Chili Weather)
3/4 to 1 pound of lean ground beef (Note #1)
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions
2 large green or green and yellow bell peppers
1 stalk celery with a few leaves
8 garlic cloves
fresh or pickled hot pepper (optional)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 12 to 15 oz can tomato puree
1-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
red pepper flakes (to taste, optional)
1 Tablespoon chili powder (Note #2)
1 heaping Tablespoon beef soup base OR beef bouillon granules
2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or more to taste
3 15-oz cans light red or small red beans, or pinto beans
Chop the onions and celery (Note # 3) and dice the green pepper. Place olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chopped vegetables and the ground meat. Sauté, stirring frequently, breaking the ground meat up into very small chunks. Mince the garlic and the celery leaves (and hot pepper if using any). When the meat mixture is starting to brown and the onions are soft, add the garlic and celery leaves, sautéing another minute. Add the tomato, tomato puree, water, sugar, and all the seasonings. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans. Add to the chili and stir to mix. Taste, and add more chili powder or hot pepper if needed. Cover and turn to very lowest heat. Simmer, stirring from time to time. If chili starts to stick or becomes too thick, add some more water. It can be eaten after another 15 minutes, but an hour or two on very low heat makes a tastier chili.
Serve with crackers or crusty bread, or surrounding a mound of white rice. You may garnish with a dollop of sour cream if desired, and/or sprinkle with a little fresh chopped cilantro.
Note #1: You may substitute half ground lean pork or sausage for a tasty variation.
Note #2: Feel free to add more chili powder, depending on the heat resistance of those that will eat it.
Note #3: A food processor works fine for the onions and celery, and later for the garlic and celery leaves. Cut the green pepper by hand for prettiest results; the food processor works but you may end up with a mushy, watery mess if you process too long.