Crystal's Chili

It's raining today! Perfect time to make chili if you ask me. This one is an award winner. It really is. It's won a 3 contests at Fall Harvest events. If you you like mild chili as opposed to spicy, then adjust the amount of chili powder you use and omit the taco seasoning.   A word of caution.  If you don't have a good stock pot, chili scorches pretty easily.  If this happens, don't scrape the bottom of the pot or you will pull up burnt stuff.  If you have a crock pot, it's the safest method for cooking chili for a long period of time.

1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
1 packet mild taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeded
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce 

1 14-oz. can beef stock
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 29-oz. can kidney beans
1 4-oz. can mild chopped green chilies
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ to1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (optional)

individual size bags of Fritos (see explanation below)
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a stock pot and place over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper and sauté  until the vegetables are limp, about 3 minutes.   Add the beef and the taco seasoning and brown the meat. Pour the meat mixture into a colander to drain the grease. Return to the stock pot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook on a very low simmer uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours. (You can also use a crock pot and cook for 3 to 4 hours.) 

Adjust the seasonings before serving.  Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and crackers.   Another fun way to serve: pour into an individual sized bag of Fritos and top with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream. I love to serve it like this for tailgate parties.  (Make sure you set the individual bags of Fritos in a paper bowl so it doesn't burn your hands.) 

  Leftovers freeze well in zip lock bags.  This is great re-heated.

Serves 6 - 8.

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