One Recipe, Two Meals: Southwest-Style Chili

It's chili season. Have no fear: I have a delightfully mild and chunky chili for your littles, and there's a spicier, soupier version for you.
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Once a month Bev Weidner, of Bev Cooks fame and the mom of adorable twin littles, stops by to share an easy, one-two approach to dinner to keep everyone happy: Start by making one classic recipe for the kids in the house, then dress up that same dish with bold flavors for the adults.

You hardly hear anyone say, "I love this time of year!" in regard to winter. Especially that dreadful stint from January to March when you feel Old Man Winter won't ever pack his stupid bags and leave you the heck alone. And I'll tell you, I'm in that boat. I usually loathe the wintertime. But I'm trying to be better about my grumpy bump winter 'tude and suck it up. Because you know what? CHILI.

You can't go wrong with a good ol' chili, ya know? While there are 15 million versions of chili out there, I wanted to keep this one classic on the flavor front, but give it a little twist for the adults. Think spicier. Definitely spicier.

The chili starts off the same for everyone: browned seasoned beef, a dose of veggies, black beans, tomatoes and a little bit of tomato sauce (to thicken). At this point the kids' version is ready! It's chunky and simple. Serve it with cornbread and a mountain of shredded cheddar. I'm almost sure your littles will praise your name for the rest of ever.

Now, to up the ante for the adults, I added a bit of beer, beef stock, more chili powder, a minced jalapeno and brown sugar to round it out. It's got a KICK, yo. And it's a bit soupier than the kids' version, but I prefer that in a chili. I like the beans to swim a little — practice their backstroke. Do you? That's right, you do.

We're kind of liking this time of year now, aren't we?
One Recipe, Two Meals: Southwest-Style Chili
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder (divided)
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 14.5-ounce diced tomatoes
One 8-ounce tomato sauce
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 cup Guinness beer
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapeno, cilantro and cornbread

Let's make the kids' version first. In a large pot, brown the ground beef all over, until no longer pink. If you need to drain the fat, go right ahead! Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder and a good pinch of salt. Saute for a minute or so. Add the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Saute for another couple of minutes, until the veggies soften and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the beans, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste it. The kids will dig that, right?

Ladle out about a cup for each of your littles. Top each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese, and serve cornbread on the side!

Now let's finish this out for the adults. To the pot, add the remaining 2 teaspoons chili powder, the minced jalapeno, the beer, beef broth and brown sugar. It will feel pretty soupy at this point, but let it simmer for another 20 minutes or so, stirring once in a while. Taste it one more time for any seasoning adjustments. Maybe a little salt? Lime juice? Go for it.

Serve it with shredded cheese, sliced jalapeno, sour cream and torn cilantro sprigs. Boom.

Follow Bev on her blog, Bev Cooks, if you think you can even handle more.

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