The combination of rich flavors and lean red meat makes this the perfect high-protein dish. And unlike traditional chilis, it’s lighter in texture so it won’t weigh you down (literally).
My mother had many talents. She was an artist and won local awards. She was an adventurer and traveled to 35+ countries during her lifetime. And of course, she was a fantastic role model throughout my childhood.
A great cook she was not, however there was one dish she made that was worthy of praise—her kick-ass chili. From what I can tell, this was one of her only original dishes, one she did not procure from my grandmother who was a stellar cook.
God bless my mother—she tried her best. When she passed away in 2017, I found four shelves in her pantry packed with cookbooks. I found five binders with individual recipes taped to hundreds of pages, 2-3 inches thick! She would often cook new and exciting dishes no one had ever tasted in an effort to make each holiday a special one.
Her chili was the best, and with some tweaking, It represents a healthy meal. Rather than lightly strain the cooked meat using the pan cover over the sink, I use a colander. I nixed the butter and cooked everything in canola oil. I use lean beef instead of the 80/20 variety. This doesn’t take much away from the dish itself and the upside is this chili is packed with flavor, rich in consistency and high in protein.
And to ensure the kidney beans do not disintegrate, add them later in the cooking process. Details are provided further below in the post.
It is also the perfect dish to serve as a leftover meal, but make no mistake—the ingredients need time to blend with one another. I made this meal during my bachelor days and would consume it over the course of the week. By day 3 and 4, it tasted sublime! After the dish cools down, refrigerate overnight and pack in single or family containers and freeze them. This meal holds up very well over time.
The most rewarding part is after it cools down, you won’t discover a layer of yellow saturated fat at the top. The perks of a healthy cooking process!
Mom’s kick-ass chili, a great dish to cook on a cool winter day, and one that won’t saddle you down with love handles.
MOM’S KICK-@SS Chili
3 lbs of lean ground beef chuck (90% protein)
2 green peppers chopped
2 large onions chopped
1 large shallot sliced (in ¼ inch pieces)
8 cloves of minced garlic
Small can of chopped mild chilis
Large can red kidney beans
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup
¼ cup Worstershire sauce
One tsp of liquid smoke
One cup, dry red wine (cabernet savignon or a malbec)
5 tbl, canola oil
1 tsp, fresh ground pepper
1 tbl, ground pepper
1 tsp, white pepper
2 tsp, salt
1 tbl, onion powder
1 tbl, garlic powder
3 tbl, chili powder (hot Mexican if you prefer spicey dishes)
Brown meat on medium medium flame in two batches using 1 tbl of oil. Cook until meat is medium rare. Drain meat through a colander in the sink to remove excess fat.
Add 1 tbl of oil and add half the veggies and soften, 8-10 minutes. After meat is strained, dump into a large pot and drain the veggies. Repeat with oil and second half of veggies and strain them prior to adding to the pot. Use the 5th tbl of oil and add minced garlic, scrapping any and all pieces. Cook for 2 minutes and immediately add to pot (do notstrain).
In pot, add wine, Campbell’s tomato soup, crushed tomatoes, all spices (dry and liquid), and wine. Stir thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are blended together and cook on low flame for one hour.
Stir and taste for flavor. For more spice, add pepper (ground black and white). For a more smokey flavor, add liquid smoke (in small doses). Raise heat to medium and strain and rinse kidney beans. Add kidney beans immediately and cook for 15 minutes to ensure all ingredients are warmed through.
Serve of rice or with a side of tortilla chips.
Total cook/prep time: 2 hours.
Fat/Protein/Carbs: No idea. The food-science lab was closed when I cooked this.
Leftover Recommendations: Transfer chili to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, cover with saran wrap and let it cool down in the refrigerator overnight. This ensures the flavors transfer from one ingredient to the next. After 24 hours, package in single or family-served containers and freeze immediately.
If you like this dish, serve up one of these as well: