Monday, January 18, 2010


There's something about the cold weather, the grey skies, that makes me want to put a pot of chili on the stove. A big pot. One that will leave me with at least two more meals—one for later in the week, another to freeze.

And while there are more chili recipes than any of us could ever count, here's the way I make mine.

2 pounds of ground beef
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced (trust me on this)
1 can of great northern beans
1 can of black beans
2 scant tablespoons of Penzeys Chili 9000 seasoning (this can get spicy, so easy does it)
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of cumin
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Swirl a bit of olive oil into a heavy stockpot. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the beef and cook through. At this point, I start seasoning—I add salt, pepper and the garlic.

Next, toss in the tomatoes, beans and zucchini (I like the balance of the zucchini's sweetness in this dish. Admittedly, we are huge zucchini fans in this house, but it really does add a lot of flavor.)

Stir and heat through. Add the chili seasoning and other spices (and if you can't get your hands on the Penzeys—which really is special—try chili powder, chili flakes, any combination that will spice it up is fine, even a pre-packaged chili mix would work).

Simmer for at least an hour, preferably two. I always taste it again towards the end to either add to or temper the heat. If it's not spicy enough for you, that's easy to fix. More chili seasoning. But if you think you might have spiced it up too much, try adding another can of diced tomatoes. You can also garnish with sour cream or serve it over white rice (both of which will cut the spice).

I garnish with grated cheddar and jack cheese, sour cream and diced green onions.

I serve the "next day" leftovers over rice or spaghetti, just to change it up a bit. No matter what, it's a winter-time favorite in our house, with everyone but the 8 year old, who clearly has no idea what he's missing.


  1. This is the first I've ever heard of zucchini in chili. It looks yummy.

    I'm actually planning to make chili this weekend. I've been very unhappy with how my chili turns out lately so I haven't made in a couple of years. I was planning on trying something totally new -and this would work!

    I think for something really new though I'm going to start with dried beans. Heck, maybe I'll throw in the zucchini.

  2. I don't know about the zucchini but the coriander makes a huge difference in the flavor. I like the two types of beans you've used. Don't know why, I've never been a fan of kidney beans which so many use in their chili.

    Goodfountain, make sure you rinse and drain the beans after you soak them; it helps eliminate the enzymes which cause so much gas.

  3. I knew you guys would scoff at the zucchini, but let me ask you this: When have I ever steered you wrong?