Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Christmas Chili

Christmas Chili

It was 84 here in Texas on Monday, today it’s in the 40s and last night they were saying something about a chance of snow flurries! Or as my Dad would have said, someone left the barn door open and let the cold air in! So it’s a perfect day for chili!

I have two favorite chili recipes; one is our “beefier” Texas chili and this version, a more Southern, milder chili with a touch of Creole and tomato flavors. Also known in our house as Christmas Chili, this recipe originated from a favorite cookbook I’ve had for years, “Nathalie Dupree’s Southern Memories”, an absolutely fabulous book full of great Southern recipes.

The flavor of this chili is unlike a traditional Texas beef chili and it’s uniquely wonderful. The chili gets its name from the beautiful red and green bell peppers, finely chopped and added along with a bit of garlic, plus a sweet onion all cooked into the meat. Then it’s seasoned with paprika, a touch of brown sugar and the bold flavor of Creole seasoning before it simmers together with tomatoes and beef stock.

For extra layers of flavor I use both ground sirloin and ground buffalo, which are very lean meats then render a few strips of bacon in with the butter. If you can’t find ground buffalo, feel free to use your favorite chili meat. When chopping the bell peppers, seed them first…

…then run them through your food processor. You want them finely chopped.

The flavors continue to mellow by the day. This makes a good size batch and if you happen to have leftovers it freezes well.

Serve with rice or straight up and garnish with grated white cheddar cheese – this is a delicious way to warm up on a cold, blustery day!

Christmas Chili

8 tablespoons butter

3 slices of bacon cut into small pieces

1 large sweet onion, about 2 cups, chopped

1-1/3 pounds ground sirloin

1-1/3 pounds ground buffalo

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped

10 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons paprika

8-10 teaspoons Creole seasoning (you can find this in the spice aisle of your food market)

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

2 cans crushed tomatoes, 15-ounces each

1 large can Roma tomatoes, 28-ounces, broken up

1 tablespoon concentrated beef stock dissolved in 1 cup of water

In a large Dutch oven, render the bacon into the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté about 7-10 minutes until they are tender and somewhat translucent.

Add the ground sirloin and the ground buffalo, breaking the meat up into the onions and cook until the meat is mostly browned. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Drain the excess drippings off the meat. Add the red and green bell peppers along with any of their juices that have accumulated from chopping. Mix into the meat then add the flour and stir until everything is combined.

Add the brown sugar, the paprika, Creole seasoning and kosher salt. Stir together with the meat and vegetables.

Mix in the crushed tomatoes, the Roma tomatoes and the beef stock dissolved in the water.

Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking until the chili is warmed through and flavors have time to blend, about 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently as the chili will tend to stick to the pan if the heat is too high. Add any additional kosher salt or Creole seasoning to suit your taste.

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