October 1, 2011

Hearty Southwestern Bean Chili

I think this could easily win the Chili Cook-Off contest this year.  It's hearty, bursting with flavor, and so easy to throw together.  Perfect way to start off a chilly autumn evening.  Also freezes lovely, so if you make this (approximately 8 servings), the average size family will have enough for 2 meals.

5 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large sweet onions chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
2 c. chicken broth
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can corn (optional)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheddar, for garnish

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Top with sour cream, cheddar and cilantro

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