It’s that time of year again: fall. It came upon Chicago quickly—within a day summer was whisked away and fall was ushered in with a change of the wind. Really, truly, I’d never seen anything like it.
The weather switch means I can finally open the windows in my third-floor walkup. As I throw open the windows, I delight in the fresh, cool air—and the fact that I can finally use my kitchen again! YAY!
With only three weeks left in Chicago, my pantry has been screaming for me to use up its stocks. So when Doug and I decided to stay in for our date night last week I thought, what better way to celebrate the fall season and use up my canned goods than in a hearty, beef-based chili?
Of course, fresh onions, peppers and garlic are all chili mainstays, even in ones created mostly from the pantry. They help to give the chili texture and a whole lot of nutrients. Grass-fed ground beef lends this chili its beefy flavor, while canned beans, tomatoes and creamed corn round out this chili, giving it body, richness and a wonderful chunkiness. This is a chili you can make as thick or thin as you would like, just add more or less water to it depending on what you’re looking for. And since it’s made from ingredients most folks have lying around their home, you can throw this chili together in no time. Happy autumn everyone!
Pantry Raid Chili
Pretty much everything in this chili can be found in your pantry. Serves 8-10, but it also freezes beautifully for smaller families. Tastes just as good, if not better, the next day. Click here to download a printable copy of this recipe.
1 lb ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can cream-style corn
3-4 cups of water
Fresh sliced limes, for serving
Grated cheddar, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Oyster crackers or tortilla chips, for serving
Brown the meat in 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Move the browned meat to a clean bowl and return the pot to the stove.
Sauté vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, followed by the garlic, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and oregano, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Stir the meat back into the pot.
Finish chili. Stir the canned beans, tomatoes, and creamed corn into the pot, followed by 3 cups of water. If you desire a thinner chili, add another cup or two of water to the pot until you get your desired thickness. Simmer the chili, covered, over medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season the chili to taste with salt and pepper and ladle it into bowls for serving. Allow your guests to top their chili with whatever condiments they would like—lime juice, oyster crackers, sour cream, cheddar cheese and cilantro.