Warning: If you are not a fan of peppers, this recipe might not be for you.
It all started as a way to use up the leftover pinto beans we made the other week. We’re getting ready to hit the road in a few days, and we want those refrigerators clean! No one wants to return from a trip only to have to clean out spoiled leftovers. Yech.
So I did what any amateur cook would do – I Googled pinto beans and came up with a recipe for Pinto Beans with Beef and Tomatoes. Which sound delicious … and an awful lot like chili. So, there you go.
This is not your average, every day, how-spicy-do-you-want-that chili. This has some interesting things going on, like the addition of chipotle chile powder and banana peppers, which make it a cut above the rest. Not knocking the original … we have a separate chili recipe for that – which we’ll share with you someday.
For this version, we’re starting off with some familiar characters. In a large cast iron skillet or soup pot, heat up some olive oil and add 1 cup diced onion (above half of a medium-sized onion) and 1/2 a diced green pepper (I know – shocking!).
To that add 1/2 cup chopped carrots (I used a handful of baby carrots) and as many cloves of garlic as you’d like (I minced 3 or 4, because that’s how we roll). And hey, while you’re at it, throw in some crushed red pepper flakes and a little salt and black pepper.
Once that’s all nice and settled, add 1 pound of ground beef and brown. Season with oregano, cayenne pepper and chipotle chile powder. Or, if you can’t find chipotle chile powder, throw in some chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce (look in the international section of your grocery store).
Now, since it takes a minute to brown the meat, let’s talk about chili vs. chile. What most people put in their chili recipe is chili powder, which is little more than a mixture of different peppers. Fine. Chile powder is the powder of ground chile peppers, which means it is spicier than chili, but also more expensive. Now you know!
Also, what the heck is a chipotle chili? Well, it’s sweet and spicy and, when drenched in adobo sauce, it has a smoky, barbecue flavor to it. YUM!
But back to the chili at hand. Once the meat is browned, add about 1/2 cup of mild banana peppers. I used these and it gave a really interesting taste to the chili. Plus, it was one less fresh pepper to cut up. Next, add two cans of diced tomatoes with juice – use anything except Italian style. I used one roasted garlic and onion and one chili style (whatever that means). Anything with fire and garlic in the name is usually a good bet.
I also added one small can of fire-roasted (see?) green chiles and the leftover pinto beans. If you don’t have leftover pinto beans, you are missing out. Because we made them with bacon! But you can just use a few cans of pinto beans as well – anywhere from 2 to 3, depending on how hearty you like it. Just be sure to drain and rinse first.
Right about now things are looking pretty good! The final ingredient is a bit of tomato paste or sauce – just a few tablespoons to give the chili a nice color and to hold everything together.
You’re done! But, chili gets better as it sits, so just let that be for a few minutes, hanging out over medium heat.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, combine an 1/8 cup of Bisquick with 1/3 cup milk. Full disclosure: I know there is no such measurement as an 1/8 of a cup, but I just guessed, because the Bisquick box recipe makes 10 biscuits. And there are only two of us.
All you have to do is stir those two ingredients together until it forms a soft paste. Then, drop the dough by rounded teaspoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Now you’re really done. Spoon the chili into a bowl, top with shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream and serve with piping hot biscuits.
This whole meal comes together in about an hour – faster if you’re good at chopping. That is really impressive AND still within the realm of weeknight cooking.
Makes 8 generous servings
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup green pepper, diced (about 1/2 medium pepper)
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1lb. ground beef
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1/4 cup banana peppers
- 2 – 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with liquid (any kind except Italian)
- 1 – 4 oz. can diced green chiles
- 2 – 14.5 oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste or sauce
In a large soup pot over medium heat, sweat the onion, green pepper, carrot, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in the olive oil until all is tender. Turn heat to medium-high and add the ground beef, oregano,cayenne pepper and chipotle chile powder. Cook until meat is browned. Add banana peppers, tomatoes, green chiles, beans and tomato paste. Stir to combine and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until mixture begins to bubble.
Serve topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream. Biscuits and cornbread also make an excellent addition to this meal.
Leftovers can be frozen and will keep for several months.