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Basic beef chili is simple and satisfying

By Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Super Easy Beef Chili is made with just six ingredients, not counting salt and pepper and the oil for sautéing the onion.

DETROIT -- A big pot of chili is popular fare for a cold-weather bash or family get-together.

One reason, I am sure, is that it is a fairly simple dish to put together. And it can be one of those "anything goes" dishes.

You start with a big pot. Then you start adding stuff. Meat, onions, tomatoes and anything else you like. Eventually you end up with a dish called chili.

You can add beans too, although folks from Texas consider that a no-no.

I often get calls from readers (and family members) who say, "Tell me how I can make this dish with ingredients I am familiar with," or "Give me a recipe for something that doesn't have a lot of ingredients."

Today's recipe is just that. It's made with six ingredients, not counting salt and pepper and the oil for sautéing the onion.

For this recipe, I sautéed the onion until it caramelized. This added a bit of sweetness to balance the chili powder. The other key point is to use a good Bloody Mary mix -- one that has good seasoning and a little spice to it.

Use diced tomatoes, with or without chilies. And pay attention to the sodium content. Look for a low-sodium brand -- some are labeled "no salt added" -- because the Bloody Mary mix is often high in sodium.

I am not a chili purist. I find that people like to doctor it up when it's served.

Super Easy Beef Chili

Makes 8 cups. Prep time: 10 minutes. Total time: 1 hour.

     1     tablespoon canola oil

     1     large onion, peeled, chopped

     1 1/2     pounds ground beef (such as sirloin)

     2    cups favorite Bloody Mary mix (spicy preferred)

     2    cans (14 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green chilies (or 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice)

     2    cans (14 ounces each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

     4     tablespoons (or more if you like) favorite chili powder, divided

For serving (optional):

     Corn chips

     Shredded cheese

     Sliced green onions

     Sour cream

HEAT the oil in a medium pot. Add the onion and sauté about 8 minutes until it becomes lightly golden brown.

ADD the beef and cook until it browns, breaking it up as it cooks.

STIR in the Bloody Mary mix and heat on medium-high, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, beans and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder. Stir well.

BRING to just a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover slightly and simmer 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of chili powder. Serve with desired toppings.

Nutrition information based on regular canned diced tomatoes and using lean ground beef: Per serving: 366 calories (32 percent from fat), 13 grams fat (4 grams saturated fat), 31 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 647 milligrams sodium, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams fiber.


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