I think one of the hardest parts of managing a busy life is eating healthy. We all know what we should be eating, but life always seems to get in the way. Grabbing a quick pizza on the way home buys you that extra half hour or so that you need. This week has been rough for me diet-wise. I think I had pizza twice and cheese, salami, and crackers for dinner once too. Today I woke up and was definitely feeling the effects. I almost feel hungover. I’m tired, bloated, and don’t feel like moving.
When life gets like this, I know it’s time to fall back on one of my kitchen staples. Chili. I love chili. It’s packed with protein. You can hide a ton of veggies in it. You can serve it right when you make it or refrigerate it and save it for later. I actually think it tastes better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to mix. I usually like to keep a batch on hand to heat up whenever there isn’t enough time to pull a healthy dinner together (I didn’t do that this week, but no one’s perfect).
I’ve been making this recipe for years, and, not to brag, but people love it. I get requests for batches on a weekly basis. Of course, I can’t take all the credit. The original inspiration for this chili came from Rachel Ray, and, over time, I’ve tweaked it to my tastes.
The first step is to get everything prepped. I know it might sound simple, but having all of your ingredients chopped, measured, and pulled out prior to cooking anything makes the whole process much more fun. Additionally, whenever I’m cooking any sort of meat, I do my best to let it sit out for at least an hour before I start cooking. Room temperature meat cooks much more evenly than cold meat. (Side note: nothing irks me more than throwing steaks right from the fridge on the grill. All that’s going to do is burn the outside and keep the inside cold.)
Once you’ve got everything pulled together, prep your veggies. Dice the onion and red bell pepper into ¼” pieces and put them in a bowl. This video is a great quick lesson on chopping an onion. And yes, the wet paper towel under the cutting board makes all the difference. Run your garlic through a garlic press right into the same bowl as the onion and pepper. There. Your veggies are prepped. I prefer using a garlic press to chopping garlic when possible. It’s much easier, and I think it really enhances the flavor.
Okay, now you’re ready to cook. One thing to point out before starting is that I never use a lid with this recipe. I’ve found that covering it allows too much liquid to remain and the end result is a thick soup, not chili. Once cooked, I will use a lid for reheating, but that’s it.
Add the ground bison meat, the chili powder, and the cumin. The spices don’t need to be precise. I typically use three small palm fulls of chili powder and one small palmful of cumin. Try to keep the bison and spices separate from the chorizo while cooking. Mix the bison and spices together until the bison is browned. Then stir to mix in the chorizo.
Once your meat is cooked, add your veggies and stir to mix. Allow this to cook until the onions become translucent (that’s a fancy word for clear).
Add the vegetable stock and let your chili simmer for ten minutes. Simmering is like boiling turned down a few notches. You want a few bubbles here and there, but not like a full-tilt boil.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for another ten minutes.
You’re now ready to to serve or save for another day. Like I said, I think this gets better after sitting together for a day or two. Plus, you can prep this in advance and serve it on a day when you don’t have time to cook.
If spicy is your thing, feel free to play around. I like to add cayenne with my other spices or added some hotter peppers in with the veggies. Typically, I serve this with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, green onion and sour cream. I know this reduces the healthiness a bit, but I still stand by the fact that food cooked on your own will almost always be healthier than any takeout you could grab quickly. I hope you enjoy, and I’d love to hear what you think.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
6 cloves of garlic
3/4 lb. raw chorizo
Don't use cooked chorizo.
Raw chorizo that crumbled like ground beef
2 lbs. ground bison