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Classic Chili with Homemade Cornbread Croutons

Most people who spend any time in the kitchen have their own go-to chili recipe.  I have a handful of different ones that I rotate between, but this is my favorite classic chili recipe.  It’s simple and straight forward and I almost always have what I need to make it without planning too far in advance.  My kids LOVE chili.  My five year old would much prefer Wendy’s chili to chicken nuggets and fries any day of the week.  She has asked me at least ten times in last two weeks to pack chili in her thermos for lunch, but I hadn’t made a batch yet this fall (and there is something just not right about chili out of a can).  So I kept assuring her that I’d make a big batch of chili and she’d reap the benefits of leftovers in her lunch.  I finally got around to it this week!  This recipe has been in my family for years compliments of an old family friend.  Just like my daughters, I remember really liking chili at a young age (although my Mom would make a batch with no beans for my brother and me — that says a lot about my very sweet and accomodating Mom!).  My girls love beans and especially black beans, which are a superfood.  Black beans are packed with protein and ounce for ounce, they have more fiber per serving than any other bean.  That’s why I use half black beans and half kidney beans. Even if you have your own favorite chili recipe, keep this one on hand.  It’s delicious and you can’t ever have too many chili recipes!

Classic Chili (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey or ground beef

1 lb ground turkey sausage or pork sausage

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 28 oz. can tomatoes, crushed

1 14 oz. can tomatoes, diced (I usually use the kind with garlic, basil and oregano)

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14 oz. can beef broth (or slightly more to make it thinner)

4 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt, more to taste

1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste

cornbread, sourdough bread, whole wheat baquette (any type of bread to make croutons, best if a little stale)

toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green or red onions, croutons, hot sauce etc.

Directions:

In large soup pot or dutch oven, cook the meat, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked through (appx 10 minutes).  Drain meat juice (this is not a must, but it keeps it healthier).  Add beef broth, tomatoes, beans and spices.  Mix together and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with cheese, sour cream, onions, croutons or hot sauce!

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Homemade Cornbread Croutons:  I made cornbread croutons to top my chili (had leftover cornbread from carry out BBQ).   If you love cornbread, you will like this sweet crunchy addition to the chili.  If you don’t love cornbread (I’m not a huge fan to tell you the truth), try a different variety (sourdough is awesome for croutons) or whatever you have on hand.  Cut bread in large chunks.  Toss with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and bake at 250-300 degrees for 45 minutes or until they are dried out and crunchy.  It’s a guessing game depending on how dry your bread was to start.

 

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