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After yesterday’s extravaganza {Christmas tree hunting at the farm + home tour}, I thought we’d sit down to a nice, warming bowl of chili.  This is a favorite of my husband’s and well you know, our kids didn’t much appreciate that it was on the menu but none the less, I made a big bowl of black bean chili.

 I had to share one more photo of Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm just because I had such a great time and it was a really nice outing for us and the boys.  If you live in the area, I highly recommend it.

 We love to serve our chili with lots of toppings.  Last night it was sliced jalapeno, grated Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses and diced red onion.  This is totally a matter of taste.  How do you usually top off your chili?

And, I made a little more progress on my Christmas decorating today plus, I remembered to put water into the tree stand.  That’s a H U G E step to keep it alive until the big day arrives.

Black Bean Chili

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet onion (I used Vidalia), chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 lb ground beef

3/4 lb bulk Italian sausage

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, mined

1/2 tsp of liquid from canned chipotle pepper

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 12-ounce beer

1 bay leaf

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, chopped (juice reserved)

3-4 tbsp tomato paste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and both peppers and cook another 5 minutes.  Add the beef and sausage and cook, stirring to break up, until browned, about 10 minutes longer.  Add the chipotle pepper, liquid, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon.  Stir to incorporate into the vegetable-meat mixture.

Add the beer and bay leaf, turning the heat up slightly and cook until beer has nearly evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the corn, beans and chopped tomatoes (with reserved juices).  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the tomato paste, taste and adjust seasonings.  Simmer, uncovered an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese, minced onion and sliced jalapenos if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

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