A charming chili recipe to keep you warm through the winter

Arts reporter Charlotte McManus gives her take on a hearty Midwestern classic, and suggests alternative ingredients for diverse diets.

Charlotte McManus, Arts Reporter

It is officially November, and winter is closing in. We will soon be up against six months of freezing nights, dark days, and 50 mph winds. We can’t stop the changing weather, but one way we can try to keep warm is by making chili.

Chili is great because you can make a large batch and freeze the leftovers. Whether you’re a busy college student or a family with plenty of mouths to feed, that Ziploc bag of chili will come in handy around the holidays.

Now, onto the recipe. It involves meat, stock, beans, onions, garlic, celery, cumin, chiles, and chili powder. Use as much or as little of each as you’d like to create a chili that is entirely your own.

Ground beef is expensive right now. But if that’s your favorite meat, splurge a little.

 I used ground turkey in mine because it’s cheaper, and I stay away from red meat in a half-hearted attempt at a healthy diet. If you’re vegetarian, you can purchase a tofu-based fake meat or forgo the meat entirely — beans are a great source of protein on their own.

The type of beans you choose is also up to you. If you’re my dad, you’ll probably reach for two cans of red kidney beans — a popular choice among chili connoisseurs. If you’re me, you’ll grab two cans of black beans.

To start, cut the ground meat into small cubes. If you’re feeling bourgeois, you could also throw it into a food processor. Next, throw that in an oiled pot on medium heat, and let it cook until it’s mostly brown.

While the meat cooks, cut up your garlic, onion, celery, and sweet pepper on a different cutting board. It’s never a good time to get a meat-borne illness. Throw the onion in first, then the sweet pepper, the celery, and cook until all those veggies are tender. This is also a good time to add cumin, chili powder, chiles, and garlic to taste.

Next, add enough chicken broth to make your concoction into a stew, which is about one to two cups. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. While that’s happening, drain your two cans of beans, and add them to the stew. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congratulations — you’ve successfully made chili and avoided seasonal lethargy. Dish it out and serve it with cheese, hot sauce, and tortilla chips. Freeze any leftovers for a snowier day.