I think everyone has a different idea an what makes a good bowl of chili. For me, it means ground beef, beans, and a spicy red base with lots of tomatoes. Fortunately 2011 was a great year here for tomatoes. We have a lot of them in the freezer and pantry in various forms, including sauce, puree, whole tomatoes, oven roasted and dehydrated. For this batch of chili I used our freezer tomato sauce, puree and some whole tomatoes.
Other than the beef and beans, everything in this chili came from our gardens, including the chili powder. I make our own powder from an assortment of homegrown dried peppers, which gives it a sweet and spicy taste. I also added some of our roasted Anaheim type peppers, some diced bell peppers I froze last fall, a little of our chopped onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.
After browning some locally sourced ground beef, I drained the grease and added the onions, garlic, peppers and chili powder and let that saute for a few minutes. Then I poured in the tomato products, and let it all simmer for about an hour.
I added the already cooked red beans at the end. I used some local red beans I found at Rivercity Co-op recently. I had cooked them in the pressure cooker, then packaged the beans in pint containers and froze them for later use. The no salt added beans are a great alternative to canned beans, and the beans retain their shape and consistency after freezing.
I served it up topped with a little grated local raw milk cheddar and some scallions from the greenhouse. It all made for a great tasting batch of chili. And I only dirtied up one pot making it!