|Dutch oven chili simmering on the stove|
This is an easy-to-make chili that'll make you feel like a cast iron pro. You can use your cast iron dutch oven, or an enameled dutch oven if that's what you have on hand (bare cast iron is preferable since it allows for the development of fond, which improves flavor).
This chili accommodates a variety of meats and beans, but more importantly it's very tasty.
This recipe serves 8-10.
The two most most common problems with chili are:
- General lack of flavor
- Too-watery consistency
- 2 lbs ground bison, beef, or turkey
- 4 cups cooked beans (kidney, pinto, red, etc.)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon flour (I used gluten free, but wheat flour is fine, too)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt, and to taste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
Heat your cast iron dutch oven on medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil is hot and shimmering, toss in your onions and celery.
|Aromatics and ground bison|
Stir the aromatics around as they cook to avoid scorching, and then add the ground meat. Brown the meat, stirring every minute or two. This will take around 10 minutes.
Once the meat is browned, add another tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and the flour, chili powder, and granulated garlic (NOTE: I use kosher salt because it's what I have in a bowl next to my stove. If you're using table salt, cut quantities in half).
|Always taste your chili and re-season as necessary|
The longer it simmers, the better. As your chili simmers, taste it! You want the beans to soak up as much flavor as they can, since this makes each bite of chili more balanced once it hits the spoon. As the beans soak up flavor from the surrounding liquid, you'll want to add more salt and seasonings.
If the chili doesn't delight your palate with flavor upon tasting, add salt until it does. If you prefer more heat, add black pepper (NOTE: pepper takes some time to release into the dish, so wait 20 minutes after adding pepper to taste for heat). If you'd like a little smoke, add a smokey hot sauce like Uncle Brutha's (which, of course, will add heat, too).
As mentioned above, you'd be silly not to serve this chili with some cast iron skillet corn bread. We like to put it over noodles or rice, and it's best served with fresh chopped onions and grated cheese.
Scrub your dutch oven clean with a non-abrasive cleaning pad and hot water. If you don't want to dirty your sponge, or if your sponge is full of soap, you can use a plastic mesh produce bag (like for onions or citrus) and throw it away when you're finished.
Once clean, dry your dutch oven with heat on the stovetop or in the oven (on 250 degrees F). Once it is dry, oil the dutch oven all over and let it cool. Cast iron should always be put away shiny with oil!
Read more on the care of cast iron cookware.