One of my ultimate comfort foods is beef chili. When I was growing up, my mom would make big batches of it using her special, still-secret recipe, and I would gobble it up by bowl, always hankering after more, even after the leftovers were long gone. By now, I've found and developed my own favorite recipes, but I'm always game to test drive one more.
This particular chili is one I found on the blog of one of my favorite chefs, Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster fame. It struck me as being completely unique in that it doesn't involve a dozen different spices and hours of simmering time. Instead, it's quick, pared down, and super healthy (hello, brown rice and kale). Don't get me wrong, nothing really beats a good, old-fashioned pot of chili, but this one will do in a weeknight pinch, especially now that tank-top-weather is officially around the corner. Recipe down below. All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo
Salt, for seasoning beef, and to taste
1 pound ground beef, divided into ½- to 1-inch portions
3 tablespoons canola oil
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 bunch Lacinato Kale, cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional seasonings: bay leaf, coriander, cayenne
Heat a large saute pan or pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef generously with salt. Add the canola oil and heat through. Add the beef to the pan and sear it, letting the meat brown well. Stir to caramelize all the sides of the beef. (At this point add the optional seasonings.)
Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and kale and fold into the tomato and ground beef mixture. Heat through until the kale is wilted and the rice is hot.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve.
Cook's Note: I added random pinches of chili powder, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper and found that the spices gave it a nice added boost of flavor.