When my husband joined twitter back in 2009 or so, one of his first followers was the website ObamaFoodOrama (now subscription only) – also known as “The Official Site of Record for Obama White House Food Initiatives, From Policy to Pie.” Assuming they had followed him in error (my husband and the then White House Chef have the same name) he let them know he was not the White House Chef. They replied “We know! We are just big fans of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.” They had the right Sam Kass after all!
After that, of course, we had to check out their website and one of the first things I found on it was the Obama family chili recipe. Easy, delicious, and nutritious (no surprise there, given Michelle Obama’s advocacy), it was an immediate hit with my family. And, now more than ten years later with only a few minor changes, it is still in my regular meal rotation. This recipe is a keeper, for sure.
Like so many recipes, this one starts with chopping the vegetables, in this case mincing the garlic, and dicing the onion and bell pepper. The Obama recipe called for a green bell pepper, but over the years I have used every color of bell pepper (green, yellow, orange, red) just depending on what I had in the fridge. They all work well, but I do have a slight preference for the red peppers.
Time to start cooking. Put the pan over medium high heat, and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. When the onions and peppers are soft, add the ground beef or turkey (I’m using beef here) and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the meat until brown. Then, add the chopped garlic and let it cook until just fragrant, about 1 -2 minutes.
Make a mixture of the dried spices and add them to the ground meat. For the chili powder, I like to use an ancho chili powder that I bought in the US. When I don’t have my favorite chili powder, I simply use the one that is easy to get (Coop brand chilpulver).
Add the tomatoes. If using canned whole peeled tomatoes, crush the tomatoes with the back of the stirring spoon, or with a potato masher to help break them down. Then, add the red-wine vinegar.
Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are fully broken down and completely incorporated. Then, stir in the kidney beans and cook until the beans are warmed through – another 10 minutes or so. Give it a taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
Serve over rice with any of the suggested garnishes – avocado, diced onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. We love this simply, easy chili, and I bet it will become one of your favorites, too.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g onion, diced (about 2 medium)
- 200 g bell pepper, diced The Obama recipe called for a green bell pepper, but I prefer to use a red one. The color really isn't that important. I use whatever I have and they all work well in this recipe.
- 20 g fresh garlic, minced (3-4 cloves)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp ground tumeric
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste Original recipe does not list salt and pepper, but I assume that is because they are assumed.
- 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
- 1 400 g peeled whole tomatoes You can use 3-4 fresh tomatoes, chopped.
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 500 g ground beef or turkey
Garnishes for serving
- grated cheddar cheese
- chopped onions
- sour cream
- chopped avocado
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef or turkey to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and then brown the meat, about 5 minutes.
- Once the meat has browned, add the chopped garlic and cook a minute or so until fragrant.
- Combine the spices into a mixture, then add to the ground meat.
- Add the tomatoes. If using canned whole peeled tomatoes, crush the tomatoes with the back of the stirring spoon, or with a potato masher.
- Add the red-wine vinegar.
- Let the tomatoes simmer until they have cooked down some. About 10 minutes or so.
- Stir in the kidney beans and cook until the beans are warmed through another 10 minutes or so.
- Serve over rice with any of the suggested garnishes (avocado, diced onion, shredded cheese, sour cream etc.).
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