I know there are many chili purists out there, but I'm not one of them. I think chili is one of those dishes that has many delicious variations. I have tried many different styles, but my standard chili is one based on ground meat, beans and tomatoes. I like to vary the meat and the beans for different flavors. I use a combination of ground chuck, ground pork or ground turkey. As for the beans, I use pinto beans, kidney beans or white beans.
Chile powder is not the same as chili powder. Chile with an "e" is a pepper. Chili with an "i" is a spice mix typically used in making chili. Chile powder is made from any type of pepper that has been dried and ground. Chili powder usually contains chile powder, cumin, Mexican oregano and salt. Ancho and guajillo are two peppers often used in chili. You can use a pre-mixed chili powder or add your own combination of spices.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 lb ground turkey (dark meat, preferably)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 serrano peppers, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 can pinto beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2-4 tbsp chili powder (or your own combination of spices)
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 1 tbsp oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add meats and stir occasionally until meat is cooked through. Try not to break up the meat too much, as it is good to have some hearty chunks of meat. Drain meat in colander and discard fat. Return Dutch oven to medium heat and add remaining 2 tbsp of oil. Add onions and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add green pepper, serrano and garlic and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Add chili powder and stir well. Cook for a few minutes and then add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and add beans and reserved meat.
After 30 minutes, I like to taste for spiciness. I carefully add cayenne pepper until it reaches the desired level of heat. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Taste for salt.
Serve over white rice, polenta or elbow macaroni.