Because Chili Doesn’t Have Beans In It

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I make chili. It’s probably a lot better than the chili you make. But that’s sort of the point in making chili — it can taste exactly the way you like it. While my recipe continues to evolve, there are few things I’m totally settled on:

1. I don’t use ground beef. That stuff is for amateurs. I buy some sort of cheap, lean roast — the leanest I can find — and cut it up into pea-sized chunks. It takes a while, but it’s totally worth it. Be sure to actually brown the beef in a hot pan. You’re missing out on an entire layer of flavor if you don’t.

2. I use as many different kinds of chili peppers as I can stand to chop up. This time I used Anaheim, poblano, jalapeño, habanero, chipotle green and red bell peppers. Why? Because it tastes better that way. The variety of peppers act on different areas of the tongue. Or something like that. Go easy on the chipoltle — a tablespoon can change the flavor of the entire pot. I like lots of little uniform chunks of veg in the chili. “Competition” chili, this ain’t.

3. Lots of roasted cumin. And a little homemade curry powder, or better yet, garam masala. Not to much. Keep it in the background.

4. And I always serve it under a big pile of cheese, with chopped green onions. Always. After I take the picture, of course.

Sometimes I make my own chili powder. Sometimes I throw in crushed up stale corn chips. Sometimes I even put chocolate in it. And sometimes, I top it with a fried egg. But no beans, please.

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