Chili Con Carne – The Perfect Winter Meal

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One of my favorite Meals in a Jar is my home canned Chili with meat and beans! Especially when the snow starts to fly in Michigan – nothing beats heating up a quart of chili to warm me from the inside out!  IMG_5300 compressed

This recipe is delicious served in a bowl with a side of beer bread, or inside a bread bowl! You may also use it when making a chili omelet – which I suggest canning in pint size jars which are a perfect size for this hearty breakfast!  Whatever the use, be sure to make plenty to line your pantry shelves.  You’ll be happy you did!

Diane’s Homemade Chili Recipe – makes approx. 7 – 9 Quarts

5 pounds of hamburger

12 cups Roma tomatoes, either crushed or finely chopped in food processor2 pounds Italian sausage

2 bell pepper, finely chopped (any color)

2 cups onions, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapenos, deseeded and finely chopped (keep seeds if you want more HEAT in your chili)

4 large stalks, parsley – finely chopped

1 cup chili powder

¼ cup cumin power

1 tsp cumin seeds

1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, add to your flavor liking

6-8 drops Tabasco sauce, add according to your flavor liking

4 tsp course canning salt (you may also flavor to your liking either prior to canning or prior to serving)

Black pepper to taste

Beans, optional

I use ½ lb of rehydrated black beans, ½ lb of rehydrated kidney beans and ¼ lb rehydrated pinto beans.  If you prefer to use store bought canned beans, it would equal 2
cans of black, 2 cans of kidney and 1 can of pinto beans.

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Bean Prep (if using):  As with any dried beans, be sure to sort out any disfigured or damaged beans as well as any rocks that may have made it into the bag.  Rinse the beans in a large colander to remove any dirt.  Soak Your Dried Beans.  There are two ways to approach soaking; 1) the traditional overnight way (12 to 18 hours) or 2) the quick method.  Quick Soaking:  Place dried beans in a large stock pot and cover beans entirely with water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.  Cover and let soak for 1 hour.

Brown meat and sausage in a large stainless steel stock pot.  I use lean meat so I rarely have much excess grease, however, whether you drain the fat or blot up excess with a paper towel, be sure to remove excess fat from the meat.

My family does not like large chunks of vegetables in their chili or spaghetti sauce, so I place my vegetables in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ch

opped – not pureed, just finely chopped.  Pureed would water down the chili too much.  If you like your chili chunky, by all means, chop the vegetables to your size preference – doing your best to keep them uniform in size – and feel free to mash your tomatoes with a potato masher.  I pulse my tomatoes first, measure, then set aside.  I then pulse the onions, peppers, garlic and parsley together seeing they are added to the chili at the same time.

Minus the tomatoes, add all vegetables, herbs, ½ cup chili powder and 1 tsp cumin seeds to the cooked meat mixture.  Stir everything together well so the chili flavor can permeate the meat.  Cook on medium-heat until onions are translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.

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Add tomatoes, beans and remaining ingredients to the stock pot.  Mix well.  Bring contents to a boil on medium-high heat stirring often to avoid scorching the chili.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 10-15 minutes stirring often.  I use this gentle boiling period to reduce the water content to avoid my chili being too runny.

TIP:  I do a great deal of taste-testing as well as aroma smelling to ensure my food has the right flavor I know my family will love.   Keep in mind, you can always add more seasonings later, but you cannot remove them.  Less is sometimes more…

Ladle chili into hot quart-sized jars being sure to leave a generous 1” head space.  I have found that leaving just under an inch of headspace helps the lid seal better giving the grease content of the meat.  If you fill the jar with less than one inch of headspace there is a higher likelihood the lid will not seal – which means you will have to refill and reprocess the quarts.

Wipe the rim/screw band of each jar using a warm wash clothed dipped in vinegar (the vinegar cuts through the grease aiding in a better seal).  Place prepared lids and rings on each quart and hand tighten.

Pressure can quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes.  If you prefer chili in pint size jars, repeat the above steps and process pints in a pressure canner for 75 minutes. /screw band of each jar using a warm wash clothed dipped in vinegar (the vinegar cuts through the grease aiding in a better seal).  Place prepared lids and rings on each quart and hand tighten.

The Canning Diva

Photos Courtesy of McCloud Photography

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