March 20 was the first day of Spring! It’s time to start cleaning up the grill and preparing for all those cookout’s that you have been postponing since fall. But wait, Mother Nature decided that winter deserved one last hurrah much to our dismay. The day was cold, raining and even a hint of snow was in the air.

Chasing away the winter blues

icookSo what better way to chase away those end of winter blues than a big pot of soup, stew or chili?  I’m thinking one more pot of chili may be just what the doctor ordered paired of course with the NCAA basketball playoffs. That sounds like a good evening to me.

We eat a lot of soup in the cooler months, so much so that someone just gave me a new soup cookbook that boasts 1001 recipes! Butternut and Parsnip, roasted carrot, split pea soups and chili are some of our favorites and I’m always looking for something new.

Easy and economical

Soup is a great way to stretch your food dollars. You can make soup from just about anything including leftovers. A bit of leftover roast chicken, some mixed vegetables, a bit of chicken stock and maybe a few egg noodles or rice and you have a healthy and hearty soup for pennies. Just remember to add some flavor with herbs and spices just remember that many packaged stocks have a lot of sodium.

With Springs arrival, I will have to change my way of thinking about soup. Time to use all those new spring vegetables that will start arriving in the markets. That’s about the time I start making Gazpacho and Borscht.

So, remember to keep warm for a little while longer and make some soup or chili to chase away the blues.  Spring is here and the temperatures will warm over time. In the meantime, let's whip up a batch of chili and watch some basketball. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.

Britt and Karen’s chili

icook

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 to 1.5 LBS of ground beef (or turkey or venison), browned and drained
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 12oz Guinness Stout (or other dark beer)
  • 32oz chopped tomatoes
  • 1 - 16oz can of each Dark Kidney, Light Kidney, Great Northern, Pinto, and Black beans (5 cans in total)
  • 4 to 6 TBSP of chili powder (depending on personal taste)
  • 2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt – 1 TBSP or to preference
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles or 1 fresh jalapeno ribs and seeds removed chopped (optional)

In a stock pot, brown the meat and remove from pan. Add the onions and cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat then add garlic, chili powder, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, and cumin and cook another minute being sure not to burn the garlic.

Add the beer to deglaze the pan. Return the beef and add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then turn back to low and cover. Simmer the chili covered for about an hour and taste. Re-season the pot as desired, and simmer covered for another one to two hours.

We like to serve ours with either cornbread or saltines and top it with cheese. I also will top chili with a dollop of sour cream.  

icook