Chili for a Crowd

This winter, my go-to recipe for a gathering of friends or a church supper has been a huge pot of chili. The meat is optional, so it has been helpful for feeding our vegetarian friends, as well as keeping it more frugal. We like it served with a gluten-free cornbread, and topped with grated cheese, sour cream or yogurt, and green onions.

You could use canned beans, but I always used dried beans. (I presoak them overnight, and cook them up the next day.)

Chili for a Crowd

2 lbs. dry kidney Beans (about 4 cups dry beans or 10 cups cooked beans)
2 lbs. Ground Beef, cooked (optional)
2 Tbl. Oil for sauteing (such as coconut oil)
1 Gallon + 1 Quart of Tomato Sauce (or a combination of canned diced tomatoes and sauce/juice)*
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Sucanat or Dark Brown Sugar (more/less to taste)
2 1/2 tsp. Cumin
2 1/2 Tbl. dried Oregano
1 Tbl. dried Basil
1/4 Cup Mexican Seasoning (or more, if you like it spicier; we do!)
2 Tbl. Sea Salt (or to taste)
2 tsp. Pepper (or to taste)

Precook kidney beans and drain. In a very large stockpot, cook meat (if using); otherwise just saute the onion and garlic in the oil. Pour in the tomato sauce/juice, and stir in the cooked beans. Mix in the remaining seasonings and sugar.

Let simmer for a least a couple hours. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. If the chili seems to need more liquid, add a bit of water or broth during the cooking time. Serves about 30.

If you have a large slow cooker (or two) available, this is a wonderful recipe to add in the morning, and serve up at dinner time!

*In the summer, when I have a bunch of garden tomatoes or find a good deal on a box of tomatoes at the market, I like to puree a few pounds of tomatoes in my blender for fresh sauce, and add some extra water or broth. Otherwise, home-canned or glass-jarred tomatoes are healthier options than cans. Choose organic when possible.

Optional Nutritional Tip: Remember my suggestion for mixing in some blended-up, nutrient-dense liver/organ meats? You’ll never notice it in this recipe!

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