Some say that real chili is made without beans, some say it’s made with beans:
I like both versions (here’s my recipe for chili con carne with beans; I also make on occasion a delicious mushroom-and-bean vegetarian chili), although for anyone who prefers to avoid beans (Paleo or low carb diets come to mind), this no-bean version is obviously the better choice.
While I realize that chili is supposed to be cooked lovingly for at least an hour over low heat, I’m way too impatient for that, so my version is ready in 30 minutes – and it’s intensely flavorful and absolutely delicious. If anything, the meat is juicier because of the shorter cooking time.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (8 oz)
- 2 medium bell peppers (red, green, or one of each), chopped (10 oz total)
- 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Optional garnishes:
- Grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 small green onion, sliced
- In a small bowl, with a fork, mix together the seasoning ingredients to create a thick paste.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, bell peppers, beef and one teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring to break up the meat, about 7 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and meat is browned.
- Add the seasoning mixture (use a small spatula to scrape it off the bowl) and cook, stirring to mix it into the beef and vegetables, 1 more minute.
- Add the beef stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, the remaining salt and the black pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.