Good Chili con carne starts with lean beef

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Winter is sorta here. Cold temps and overcast misty days brings chili to my mind. Or more appropriately chili con carne as I learned after rooming with a Hatch chili aficionado in college and then spending 15 years in New Mexico. But for simplicity, I will just call it chili, but also mention chili as in peppers, because my chili con carne contains Hatch red chili powder.

I made our first winter season batch of chili today. Thought I’d share. I like really mild chili, not using much chili powder. So I took a pepper off my chili ristra we brought home from Hatch a while back. I cheated and didn’t make it all the way to powder, but after soaking in boiling water scraped some of the flesh off the skin and added it to my boiling chili. But I jump ahead.


Browned beef, no draining needed

I brown onions and sine of our lean hamburger (1.5# chub) in my large saucepan. No fat to drain off, just good lean beef.

Other ingredients - vairous beans, olives, tomatos

Other ingredients

Add 3-5 cans of various beans of your preference, can be all one kind or combination: kidney, dark red, red, great northern, pinto. Drain and rinse all the beans before adding, which will reduce the sodium a bit. And since I was served some great chili by a friend in Chama, New Mexico, I add black olives. I cut them in half so they go further.

Tomato skin slides off easily

Skin slides off easily

Add tomato paste whisked with a can and a half or so of hot water. I have a supply of garden tomatoes in the freezer. Set in some water for a bit and the skin slides off in you fingers. Then use sharp knife to cut it up a bit and put in pan. Multiple tomatoes works well. Or canned diced tomatoes without or with chili (Rotell type).


Baking soda bubbling out, the light color and ‘foam’ is pretty thick right after adding, hiding all ingredients

Then add a teaspoon or so of baking soda, do not be afraid of the extra bubbling and light color, it will settle out. Doing this reduces the gaseous affect of the beans upon those who partake of the chili.

If you like it spicier, add more chili powder, cayenne, jalepeno, habenero, etc. I generally let it simmer 1-2 hours, it’s really chunky.

Serve with diced onions, shredded cheese, and sour cream for toppings. Grilled cheese,  peanut butter on crackers, or in my husband’s case a hamburger or “real sandwich” grilled cheese and ham as it must include meat. Or as many Nebraskans do, eat with a Cinnamon roll (I don’t get it).

If you want to start your next pot of chili con carne with good lean beef, give us a call (Gerald 402-366-4267) or drop us a line (info at Still have 5 quarters at sale price – $4.43/hanging pound.

About Kim Slezak

Fourth generation farmer and his 'new-to-the-farm' forester/photographer bride have 'home-grown' beef for your discerning palate. Many of the cows have names (by him, not her) and are lovingly cared for as they roam the pastures and fields. Those that encourage walk-abouts are generally first to visit a locker or sale barn.
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