Every year on Halloween, my friends' families would gather at my parents' house. Everyone would grab a bowl of chili and catch up in the kitchen, depending on when they arrived. As soon as the sun set, we'd head out for the highlight of the evening: trick-or-treating.
I'm the oldest of three siblings, so I've also watched my sister's and brother's friends enjoy that same chili recipe with their friends year after year. When I felt the weather change to fall a few years ago, I realized I had been missing that comforting Halloween tradition. So when Bryan and I started an annual pumpkin carving party tradition a few years back we, of course, served chili.
It's been a busy year, and while we aren't planning to host our annual pumpkin carving party this year, I'll always make a pot of chili for Halloween. The beauty of a chili bar is how easy and laid back it is for an impromptu weeknight dinner with friends. My Mom's secret ingredient is a bit of brown sugar- it makes a huge difference!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
*Meat can be substituted for ground turkey
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how much spice you like)
2 medium carrots- peeled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight (or 15 ounce can, rinsed) and strained
3/4 cup black beans, soaked overnight (or 15 ounce can, rinsed) and strained
28 ounces canned tomatoes
2 cups broth (beef if using pork and beef, chicken if using turkey)
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste
Whole fat Greek yogurt
Shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Peruvian corn nuts (I use these)
Diced red onions
Thinly sliced green onions
Anything else you would like to add!
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, a generous sprinkling of salt and stir frequently (about 8-10 minutes) until onions are caramelized. Add meat, another generous sprinkling of salt and stir constantly, breaking it up into small bits until cooked. Add spices and mix well to incorporate them well into the meat.
Add beans, then tomatoes, then brown sugar (my Mom's secret ingredient) and bring the pot to a boil. Once it starts bubbling turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Check beans at this time to make sure they are cooked through. Add carrots, then corn and simmer again for 20 minutes. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve piping hot, along with desired toppings. Make sure to add little spoons to the toppings for easy serving. enjoy!