I think I’m enjoying the winter CSA I joined even more than I enjoyed the summer/fall CSA. Both are great, but the winter version includes such items as locally raised meats, cheeses, milk, and even root beer in addition to the late harvest/cold storage fruits and veggies.
Our most recent share included a pound of ground goat meat. If you’ve never had goat, it’s similar to but gamier than lamb. It can replace beef in just about any dish, and it stands up particularly well in spicier recipes.
I decided to take inspiration from a bit by comedian Ron White and use the goat to make chili. I listed ground meat as the ingredient because you can use any meat you’d like: beef, pork, veal, lamb, goat, turkey, etc. As I only had one pound of goat, I used half goat and half beef. Use whatever you have on hand or whatever is on sale.
UPDATE Jan. 4, 2013: I recently got a bunch of dried beans as part of this year’s winter CSA share, so I decided to try them in this recipe in place of the canned beans called for. It turned out amazingly well! I’ve included the changes I made in the notes section.
- 1 or 2 tablespoons cooking oil (more for leaner meats, less for fattier ones)
- 2 pounds ground meat
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced fine
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (29 ounces) kidney beans, with liquid
- 1 can (29 ounces) pinto beans, with liquid
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 jar (24 ounces) tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- Shredded cheese (optional)
- Tortilla chips (optional)
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown the meat, then drain off fat.
- Push the meat to the side and add the onion, pepper and celery. Sauté for a few minutes, just until vegetables begin to brighten.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours.
- Serve topped with shredded cheese, if desired, and tortilla chips on the side.
This is a milder chili, since I planned to feed it to my 20-month-old, but it is by no means short on flavor. (She loved it, by the way.) If you want a spicier chili, there are endless variations. Replace the bell peppers with hot peppers, increase the amount of chile powder or pepper, add cayenne or a dash of hot sauce.
If you prefer, this dish can be finished in a crockpot instead of on the stove. It takes longer, but it doesn’t require as much attention. Put the browned meat, sautéed vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients in a crockpot on low for 8 hours. It will be a bit thinner since the lid keeps the liquid from evaporating. If you want it thicker, turn the heat up to high and cook with the lid off for the last 30 minutes or so.
To substitute dried beans for canned:
Pressure Cooker Method:
Soak 1 cup each of dried pinto beans and dried kidney beans for a minimum of 4 hours and drain. Place a large bay leaf, some peppercorns and a couple cloves of garlic in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie closed. Place in the bottom of a pressure cooker along with 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat. (You can use cooking oil, if you prefer, but you MUST use some fat to combat the foaming when cooking beans in a pressure cooker.) Add 8 cups of water. Cook on high (15 psi) for 10 to 12 minutes using the natural release method on your pressure cooker. Measure out the beans and enough of the cooking liquid to equal 6 cups. Use in place of the canned beans called for in the recipe. Replace the 2 cups of water called for with an additional 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Continue with the recipe as directed.
Same as the pressure cooker method, but bring the beans, water, bacon fat and spices just to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are just barely cooked.
In short, there is no wrong way to make chili. There’s not even a wrong way to spell it: chili, chilli, chile…I’ve seen it a bunch of ways. So use what you’ve got, and don’t be afraid to improvise! This recipe makes quite a bit, but the leftovers freeze quite well.