A few years ago, a group of friends and I used to get together every other week at my place to play a game of Risk. Usually, I would cook the following chili, which was always a hit. It's spicy, hearty, and not exactly healthy; in other words, it's man food. It is important, as a househusband, to have recipes like this on reserve, because if you don't make some man food for yourself now and then, you'll shrivel up and die. Sufficed to say, when I make this, I don't share it with my wife or toddler; it's all for me, and the leftovers can be frozen for a month or two (if they last that long). This chili is great on pasta, hot dogs, hamburgers, or by itself, but you're not allowed to call it chili or attribute it to me in any way if you put beans in it.
Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron dutch oven (if you don't have one, you can use a large saucepan or pot) over medium-high heat. You could even do this over a campfire. Add the garlic and stir it until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Salt one side of the ground beef and drop it, salted side down, into the garlic and oil mixture.
Salt the other side of the meat and stir to break it up. Add the chili powder and stir some more.
Chop the vegetables and stir them in as you go. Since most of the spiciness comes from the jalapeños, you can control the level by scraping out the seeds. I keep the seeds in two of the peppers, but scrape them out of the other two, and this makes for a pretty spicy final product. When you are finished, give it all another big stir and wash your hands thoroughly (make sure your hands are completely clean before you do anything like rub your eye, pick your nose, or go to the bathroom). If you're worried about having burning pepper hands, you can always wear food-safe gloves.
Once the meat is completely browned and the vegetables have had a couple of minutes to soften, add the broth, tomatoes, and oregano. Stir and reduce the heat to low.
Let the chili simmer for at least half an hour. After that, you can let it simmer for as much as three additional hours, but be sure you cover it so that it doesn't dry out. Long simmers make for fuller flavors, so if you want your chili to be its most awesome, plan to have it cook for a total of three and a half hours. Regardless, once it's ready, add salt and black pepper to taste. If you're particularly crazy, you can add hot sauce and/or red pepper as well. Serve however you like it. I like it by itself, covered only with some shredded cheddar cheese.
-e. magill 1/13/2011
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