Jon's Chili

There is no "real" recipe to Jon's chili beyond the base set of ingredients and improvisation with spices and available ingredients. If there are fresh peppers, they go in. If there's homemade salsa, it definitely goes in. Beer (Shiner Bock I find is best) cuts the spice level nicely without removing the flavor.

I sautee the onion/garlic/jalapenos until tender, then add the meat and brown it. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then add whole habaneros and the first spices (salt, pepper, first group of spices). Add 4 cups of water and some beer and bring to a boil.

Simmer it for 20 minutes, then use the second group to adjust the flavorings, and add whichever secret spices you feel like today.

Simmer, partially covered, for another 40 minutes (or more).

Anyhow, start with:

  • 3 lbs ground meat. I like somewhat lean beef, Venison gives a wonderful, hearty flavor, but requires you to add extra fat (butter or bacon grease works).
  • 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups water or beer
  • 2 onions, diced and sauteed
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed
  • 6 jalapenos, optionally, seeded, diced and sauteed
  • 3 habaneros, seeded, diced and sauteed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Spices to taste, vaguely in order of volume, most to least

First group:

  • Chili powder (4T)
  • cumin (3T)
  • chipotle (1T)

Second group:

  • cayenne (2t)
  • onion powder (1t)
  • garlic powder (1t)
  • sage (1t)
  • paprika (1t)

Other secret flavors:

  • 1t of liquid smoke
  • 2T of cocoa powder adds depth
  • 1t of cinnamon creates a nice spice level
  • 1t of molasses adds more depth
  • Mushroom stock base adds umami
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