chili is such personal food...usually reminding us of home, and of cool winter days gathered around a steaming bowl with family. a true comfort food is so hard to give a recipe for because most already have one, and would never stray. however, since this is my blog, i've decided to go ahead and list the recipe my mother gave me. i've altered it here and there to suit my tastes, but it is generally the same. i should mention that it is high on the "canned food" radar, and i am normally one for fresh ingredients. however, in order to protect the sanctity of family traditions i always make this the way my mom taught me and haven't tried to "fresh"en it up.
1 large can campbell's tomato soup (family size)
1 large can crushed tomatos
1 can tomato paste
2 cans dark kidney beans
1 # ground beef
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
several tablespoons chili powder
1 box elbow macaroni
several cups grated cheddar cheese
large heavy pot
in a large pot, bring the olive oil up to medium high heat. sautee 3/4 of the chopped onion until slightly soft - reserving the rest for a topping - and then add in the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until brown. strain beef to remove exccess fat and return to the pan. add in the soup, tomatos, paste, beans and chili powder and lower the heat to simmer.
meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water until boiling. cook the pasta until al dente and then strain.
continue to simmer the chili for a while longer, allowing the flavors to incorporate. the longer it simmers, the better it tastes, anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour and a half is good. be sure to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to ensure that there is no burning. to serve, half fill a bowl with macaroni and then fill to the top with chili. top with cheese and/or onions and even sour cream. the chili will improve each day in the fridge...though it won't last long.
my husband eats his chili over crumbled cornbread, which adds a nice sweetness.
to make this dish vegetarian, i would add in large chunks of tomato, corn and a few different varietys of beans.
for a great dip, line a bowl with cream cheese and fill the center with steaming hot chili, top with grated cheddar cheese and serve with corn chips.
if you'd like to make this dish while you are at work, simply perform the first few steps and put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker instead of a pot. keep it on low while at the office, but be prepared for a few burned bits on the sides/bottom.