Sunday, August 14, 2005

Grad Student Chili


2–3 Tablespoons Olive oil
1.5 to 2.0 pounds hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small can green chilies
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Beer
1/2 cup strong brewed black coffee
1 128 ounce (794 grams) can of crushed tomatoes
2 12 ounce cans of beans (424 grams per can)
5 Tablespoons Chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or crushed cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, saute briefly, then add the hamburger. Cook until the hamburger is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the beer and the coffee. Cook for five minutes, stirring it once.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, with their juice, the beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, partly covered, for half and hour, stirring it every ten minutes or so.
  6. Taste the chili; season to taste, and cook a little longer, say, thirty minutes to an hour
  7. The most important thing is to taste the chili, and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro, onions, and grated cheese. Serve with tortillias, grated cheese, cornbread, or over rice or baked potatoes.


Trader Joe's frozen garlic is Just Fine. Omit the beer or chili as long as the same amount of liquid is used. Substitute broth (beef, chicken or vegetable. Use ground turkey, or tofu, if you'd rather. You can extend the chili, by adding another can of beans, or a can of corn. Chopped green pepper, celery and mushrooms are nice additions; saute them with the onions. The chili is better the next day, and freezes well. You can even freeze the cooled chili in Ziplock bags. Make sure the bags are tightly sealed, and don't over fill them.

To those who ask why this is "grad student chili" . . . I started making it as a grad student, and it's well suited for cooks on a budget since it's easily extendable and it uses ingredients that are fairly common. Plus it includes two staples of many grad students' diets— beer and coffee. I confess, I started using the beer because I had some and didn't drink beer, but it does add something.

No comments: