Labor Day Monday was Garden Chili Monday for us. The tomatoes, peppers and in fact, the entire summer garden are all starting to slowly fade. So what to do with all of those late season garden vegetables? How about make, enjoy and freeze the best garden chili you have ever had. Late season tomatoes and peppers may not be the prettiest of your summer’s crop – but the thick-walled late summer fruits are packed full of flavor for making an incredible chili.
We put a big batch together early in the morning, and by noon we had a great meal, and enough left over to freeze 8 blocks of 4 serving meals. In the ingredients below, you can easily exchange an extra green and red pepper in place of the Mariachi, Cajun Belle and Italian Raster peppers we used. This chili batch was all about using what was in the garden to add as much flavor as we could. As for heat – this can best be described as a good, medium warming chili. Not overly hot or spicy, but full of flavor with a touch of heat. If you prefer it more mild or hotter – simply adjust your hot pepper ingredients to accommodate.
40 tomatoes – peeled and chopped – we used a mix of roma, big boy and celebrity
3 lbs of ground chuck (80/20 works best – you need a little fat for flavor)
1 whole stock of Celery – chopped fine
2 Large Red Bell Peppers – chopped fine
3 Large Green Peppers – chopped fine
2 Cajun Belle Peppers – chopped fine
2 Mariachi Bell Peppers – chopped fine
1 Italian Roaster Pepper – chopped fine
4 Medium Onions – chopped fine
8 cloves of garlic – minced
(3) 12 oz. beers – use full flavor beers – light beers give less flavor
2 quarts of tomato juice
12 oz can of hot and spicy chili beans
2 12 oz. can of regular chili beans
1.5 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of black pepper
HOW WE MADE IT:
Pour tomato juice , beer and the two cans of beans into a very large stockpot (minimum 12 qt), and place on medium heat. While that begins to heat, brown your hamburger in a separate pan, drain and add to the pot. Next – chop all of the remaining vegetables and add to the pot – bringing to a slow simmer. Add your spices and let simmer for at least two hours.
When we go to freeze our chili – we freeze them in one quart flat Tupperware freezer bowls – once they are frozen into blocks – we pop them out of the Tupperware and use our foodsaver to vacuum seal the blocks. You can certainly leave them in the Tupperware freezer containers – but for us it’s just an easier way to conserve room in the freezer. No matter how you freeze them – they make incredible meals in late fall or in the middle of winter to take the chill out of the cold day.