Last year in December I made a huge pot of chili and ended up having less people over for a party than expected so I canned chili and put some in gift baskets. It was a huge hit. I was just reminded this past weekend by some friends that live up north that they would really enjoy getting a gift basket with homemade chili & apple pie filling again! Actually, it is a lot easier than people think to can food. My parents used to have a huge garden and fruit trees so we used to can food & make jellies & preserves every year. I like to can food items so I have my favorite foods at the shak up north. They last longer and you don't have to thaw it out. Just heat & eat. It also makes great gift items because you can make them before the holidays when you have the extra time and not be stressed with baking at the last minute. (I could try to explain the canning process but seriously there are great how to videos on "u-tube" that will walk you through the process).
Making chili isn't rocket science. My recipe isn't anything special except that I make mine gluten free & it is quick to make. (However, I did win a chili cook-off once!) I use canned tomatoes, beans & salsa to cut down on some the prep work but you can do it the old fashioned way and soak your beans and cut your own onions, peppers, etc. I used to do it that way but no one really noticed all the extra work that was involved. The flavor turned out the same and it wasn't really that much cheaper to do it the "hard way". Most brands of kidney beans & black beans are gluten free but read your labels especially if they have seasoning in them!
Chili Recipe: (If you want a smaller batch, cut recipe in half)
- 4-5 pounds of lean ground hamburger, cooked & drained (I use 90-93% lean). We like our chili thick but you can add less meat if you like yours more "soupy". You can also substitute game meat if you are a hunter and have a freezer full of ground lean meat. You can also used shredded beef instead of ground beef. Both are quite tasty! (I generally use the ground beef because it is quicker and usually less expensive!)
- 4-5 cans (approx 16 oz. each) kidney beans, check to make sure they are gluten free (or you can buy a commercial size can at Sam's Club, Costco, Gordon's Food Supply or Smart & Final)
- 2 cans (approx 15-16 oz. each) black beans, check to make sure they are gluten free
- 1-2 (approx 15-16 oz. each) Rotel Tomatoes (If you don't like spicy chili then you can use regular tomatoes. You can also add more tomatoes but some of my kids don't like a lot of tomato chunks in their soup so I don't add more than 2 cans most of the time)
- 2-3 cups chunky salsa (I do this because I am too lazy to cut up extra peppers, onions, etc. - but sometimes I will add a chopped small onion in addition to the salsa but I cook the onion with the ground beef so it won't be crunchy in the soup).
- 2 tbs. Paprika
- 2-3 tbs. Chili Powder (add more or less if you like it spicy or mild)
- 1-2 tbs. Chipotle Chili Powder (optional - we like the smokey spicy flavor)
- 1 tbs. beef bouillon + 1 tbs. dried onion flakes (or use 1 packet of gluten free onion soup mix)
- 1-2 tbs. garlic (you can use dried or fresh)
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 cans (48-64 oz each) of V-8 juice or tomato juice (depends on how thick you want it). Note: My mom likes her chili more "soupy" so she adds one can of juice + some water. She also adds less beans and meat. (I use V-8 juice because I could always sneak some extra "veggies" into the meal without anyone knowing it!)
Combine all ingredients together in a HUGE pot and stir well. I cook mine on low for a couple of hours just so the flavors blend nicely although you don't have to. Everything in this is actually pre-cooked so you can just warm it up and eat it right away. I will tell you that it tastes even better the next day! My kids used to enjoy opening a small bag of lunch size Frito corn chips and spooning the chili on top with a little cheese and eating it from the bag when we went camping. I liked it because no extra dishes to wash! :)
I hope you enjoy my quick Chili recipe. You can easily alter the recipe for a larger batch, smaller batch or tweak it with whatever you like to add to your chili recipe. I have found that everyone has their own way of making chili. I hope you enjoy my recipe.
Gluten Free Casually