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  • The Chopping Blog

Autumn is Upon Us

Posted by John on Sep 23, 2010

Whether we want to admit it or not, the chilly weather of autumn is slowly descending upon Chicago. The undesirable weather change gives us all a real good reason to dust off the crock pots and Dutch ovens and brace ourselves for a long winter of one-pot wonders. That’s right. Chili, Beef and Barley Soup, Potato Chowder, Pozole, Chicken Noodle Soup, Coq au Vin, Minestrone, Beef Stew, Matzo Ball Soup and Butternut Squash Soup are just a few examples of my favorite dishes that the autumn season brings. I think one pot meals are the best way to develop a lot of flavor, fill your home with wonderful aromas of spices and herbs and put smiles on faces come dinner time.

Let’s take chili for instance. Simply put, chili is a combination of cooked onions, peppers and garlic along with a healthy dose of your favorite chili powder, accompanied by your favorite combination of meats (beef cubes, ground pork, and ground venison for me) and finished with some crushed tomato and red kidney beans. Yummy! Chili is an art form as indicated by the many chili cook-offs one sees throughout the winter. It's also the quintessential one-pot wonder that families across our nation have been cooking for many, many years. Don’t forget to check out our new great list of one pot wonders in our upcoming Autumn Soups and Stews class in October!

Here's our Chile con Carne recipe to tide you over till then.

Chili Con Carne

Yield: 6-8 servings

Active time: 35 minutes

Start to finish: 1 hour

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, medium dice

2 jalapeños, small dice (seeds discarded if desired)

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, medium dice

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Two 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

3 cups water

1 disk Mexican chocolate

2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste


Cilantro sprigs

Sour cream

Grated sharp cheddar

Hot sauce

  1. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the onions, jalapeños, garlic and celery and sauté until lightly caramelized, about 6-7 minutes. Add the chili powder and cinnamon and cook until the spices are toasted, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes, water and chocolate and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.
  3. Add the pinto beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve in bowls with the garnishes of your choice.

Topics: Minestrone, Coq au Vin, Chili, Beef Stew, Matzo Ball Soup, Beef and Barley Soup, Pozole

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