I love a good bowl of chili, but Bill is very particular about it (go figure). Along with his many other food aversions, he won't eat beans. So any chili I make has to be true Texas-style chili ... no beans allowed. A while back I came across a recipe from Rachael Ray for what she called Steakhouse Chili. A quick glance at the ingredients showed it would pass muster with Bill, so I gave it a try. And with a few minor substitutions, I'm completely confident in saying it's the best bowl of chili we've ever had.
Rachael's original recipe called for hot sauce, but never having hot sauce on hand I had to skip that step. Although with a name like "Steakhouse Chili," it occurred to me that A-1 sauce would be the perfect addition to this dish! It turned out to be my secret ingredient ... which I suppose isn't so secret any more.
Rachael also uses tomato sauce vs. diced tomatoes and doesn't call for cornstarch as a thickening agent (although I find it's too soupy for my taste without it).
Best Ever Chili (a.k.a. Steakhouse Chili)
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 or 4 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons A-1 sauce
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
In a large pot, cook bacon until fat renders (I actually cook it a little longer, until it's just short of crisp). Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. (I also sometimes sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes because Bill likes it HOT ... but I never make it as hot as he wants it.) Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together worchestershire, brown sugar and A-1 (my secret ingredient!). Stir into chili. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. If broth isn't as thick as you'd like, ladle a bit into a cup, dissolve the cornstarch in it, and return broth to chili. Bring to a boil for a minute or so, then reduce the heat to thicken.
I told you I was on a soup kick! I think this is my third pot in a week. But with the blizzard kicking in, chili just felt like the right thing to do. Plus, it gives us plenty of leftovers if we get snowed in!
Tomorrow will be a snow day and I'm working from home, so between work on one of my 20+ neverending projects, I'll be cooking. It's the perfect opportunity for the pot roast and mashed potato casserole I wanted to make on Sunday, plus I've already started Phase I of my football cake balls for our office Super Bowl shindig. Look forward to a lot of deliciousness in the days to come!