Chili is perfect winter comfort food – and easy to make from scratch, whether you do it in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. Because it’s just as easy to make a big batch as a small one, I opt for the biggest pot I have – or toss everything into the slow cooker – and stash away containers of the good stuff for almost instant meals down the road. Whether it’s served on its own, over a split baked potato (try a split sweet potato!) or in a bread bowl, chili always improves with age after a little time in the fridge or freezer. It’s also a great way to serve a crowd – perfectly low-maintenance apres-ski (or skate, or toboggan…)!
To serve your chili in bread bowls, choose large crusty buns or rolls (the above are sturdy cheese buns), slice off the top and pull out the soft insides, leaving enough of a shell to contain the chili. Spoon the chili into the buns, top with grated cheese (if you like) and the bun lids and serve immediately.
Classic Chili in Cheese Bowls
olive or other vegetable oil, for cooking
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1-2 lb lean ground beef or bison
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 28 oz (796 mL) can diced or whole tomatoes, with their juices
1 14 oz (398 mL) can crushed tomatoes
1 19 oz (540 mL) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz (398 mL) can baked beans
6 large crusty cheese buns
grated cheddar, for serving (optional)
In a a large pot, heat a generous drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the red pepper and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add the ground beef or bison and cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and beans, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour, until the mixture is thick. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.