Little Chicago Chili!

Welcome back!  It’s the beginning of Fall here in the Appalachian mountains and that means it’s time for some warm comfort food!  Fall is my favorite season of the year, the mountain air has a crisp freshness to it that you just don’t get the rest of the year.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the leaves change into such a beautiful vibrant array of different colors.  I’ve been all over the world, but I can honestly say there’s nowhere else I’d rather be this time of year than right here, tucked away in these majestic mountains.

Anyway, I bet you’re wondering about the name of this recipe, aren’t ya? Well, Is Butter A Carb’s international headquarters is based in Johnson City, Tennessee, which is also lovingly referred to as “Little Chicago”.

Johnson City was a railroad hub and crossroads in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, it had quite the reputation for gambling and bootlegging.  Johnson City was the halfway point (approximately) between Chicago and Miami, it was the ideal location for underground alcohol smuggling and production, notorious gangster Al Capone took full advantage of that.

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Al Capone

Al Capone used Johnson City as a hideout during the prohibition, the Montrose Court Apartment complex (located in the historic Tree Streets District) was the headquarters for his operations. There is said to be secret passages that lead to former speakeasies, underground tunnels, and escape routes used by Capone and other organized crime figures.  I guess you can see why Johnson City was dubbed “Little Chicago”.

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Montrose Court Apartments

Now that you know about the name, let’s get to cooking this delicious chili!

Ingredients: 

1 lb ground beef

1 lb sirloin, cubed (if you want to just use 2 lbs of ground beef…DO IT!)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup green pepper, diced (I used poblano and green bell pepper)

2 (12 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well

1 can crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cocoa powder, unsweetened

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups water

12.1oz of beer (12.1oz for the chili…11.9oz for you to drink while you make the chili)

 

Instructions: 

Place a heavy pot or dutch oven over high heat. Take your cubed sirloin and coat it in the flour, it helps the beef brown up nicely!  Add the tablespoon of oil to the pot and brown your beef.

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Once the cubed beef is nicely browned remove it from the pot and set it aside.

Now add the diced onion, ground beef, and salt to the pot. Take a wooden spoon and break the ground beef up into little pieces as it browns.

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It’s going to release quite a bit of liquid and usually we would drain it but we don’t want to do that this time.   Just keep stirring until the liquid has evaporated, it should take about 5 minutes.  Grab your spices!

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Reduce the heat to medium-high and add in your garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Add your cubed beef and any accumulated juices into the pot.

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Stir all those spices in and make sure they are well combined.  You wanna cook the spice and beef mixture for about 4 minutes or until it starts to darken. We want to wake those spices up!

Now let’s stir in the beer!

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It’s going to get really dark, but don’t worry you’re doing great!  Once the beer is stirred in, add your cayenne pepper, cocoa powder, crushed tomatoes, and water.

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Bring it to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes.

Now, stir in your green peppers!

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You can use any kinda green pepper you want…. Poblano, green bell, anaheim, jalapeno…. It’s up to you,  that’s YOU cookin’!

Lets add in the pinto beans!

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If the consistency gets to thick just add in a little more water.  Make sure everything is mixed together and bring back to a simmer. Let that baby simmer for 30 more minutes to let the peppers soften and the flavors to come together.

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You’re going to see some fat start to accumulate on the surface. You want to skim the fat off, trust me, you and your cardiologist can thank me later.  Once the 30 minute simmer is up, the fat is skimmed from the top, you’ve given it one last stir and tasted for seasoning…..

You’re done and you have one fabulous pot of chili ready to serve! Just grab some sour cream, a block of cheddar cheese, and some crackers and you’re ready to indulge!

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Please don’t use pre-shredded cheese… grate your own, it’s worth it.  I hope to Make America Grate Again! No…. but seriously….. stop buying that crap. 

Beef, beans, and beer what mire could you want? It’s what Al Capone would have eaten…. probably… maybe….i don’t really know.  The point is, you are going to absolutely love this chili, it has such a deep richness to it that you just can’t find in other, lesser, chili recipes.

I really hope you guys give this recipe a try, because it really is super delicious!  Let me know in the comments how it turned out!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (@isbutteracarbblog) for other content I don’t post here. Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for more Fall recipes soon!  Until next time, Ciao!

3 thoughts on “Little Chicago Chili!

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