Touchdown Chili

I found the bones to this recipe on allrecipes.com (author Jenn Polk), then made a few modifications to make it a bit less spicy and less sweet, while still having a ton of flavor. Be forewarned: you will need a full 3 to 3½ hours to complete this recipe. Magic happens when you let the chili cook for three hours: the meat becomes tender, the sauce thickens, and the whole dish has so much depth of flavor.

Touchdown Chili

(serves 5-6)

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 6 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with juice
1 (4 ounce) can fire roasted diced green chiles (mild)
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons Tabasco
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook the ground beef, onion and garlic in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, until beef is no longer pink. If needed, drain off fat (depends on the fat content of the beef you are using whether you will have a pool of grease that needs to be drained off).

Add chili powder, cumin and basil; cook and stir to coat the meat and toast the spices a little.

Add crushed tomatoes, green chiles, beer and black beans. Bring to a low boil and scrape the bottom to loosen any bits that are stuck. The chili will look really soupy at this point, but it will thicken during the long simmer ahead.

Add brown sugar, Tabasco, salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar to allow for evaporation. Stir regularly (every 20 minutes) to prevent scorching. When you notice the chili getting thicker, it is time to keep the lid on tight to prevent excess evaporation (after about the first hour of simmer). Simmer for a total of 2½ to 3 hours.