Everyones chili preferences are very personal; for example, hot and spicy, meaty, vegetarian – the sky is the limit. Chili maestros will always tell you that they make The Best Chili. Well, I am here to tell you that I make the ‘best chili’ and this is the recipe that will back up that claim! If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have been experimenting with recipes that are ‘Blenditarian’, (also known as ‘Blend-and-Extend’ in Canada). By definition, ground meat recipes are stretched with finely chopped mushrooms. For my version, I add finely chopped vegetables with the mushrooms to create an even more aromatic flavour. This represents a more sustainable and nutritious approach to healthy eating. This all ties in very well with the new Canada Food Guide recommendations of eating less meat and more vegetables. I have created a base called Savoury Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable Blend. This blend (or base) can be used in a wide variety of easy to make recipes.
In this post, you will learn how to prepare this base blend to utilize it to make a fabulous chili – “The Best Chili”. I make the blend base ahead of time and freeze it in family size portions. Once you have the blend base made, dinner can be on the table in less than ten minutes. Enjoy!
This Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable base can be used to make many dishes such as: Spaghetti Sauce; Sloppy Joes; Taco Salad; Hamburger Soup; Beef, Cheese and Macaroni Casserole; and much more. (Refer to “What Else Can I Do With This Recipe?” Section below to learn more).
How to Make the Best Chili
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
Add the following ingredients to 1 lb. /3 cups savoury meat blend (recipe follows):
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 – 2 teaspoons chili powder (recipe follows to make your own – it is so easy!)
- 1 can (28 oz./798 ml) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (14 oz./398 ml) kidney beans
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- Combine the ingredients and simmer in a small saucepan until heated through (about 10 minutes).
- Serve the chili in a bowl with hot buttery garlic toast, or taco shells or pitas, garnished with any or all of the items listed below.
- Avocado, diced
- Iceberg lettuce, shredded
- Fresh tomatoes, diced
- Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- Green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- Sour cream
How to Make Your Own Chili Powder:
Making your own chili powder is easy! Combine the following and store in an airtight bottle:
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Savoury Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable Blend
CHEF TALK: During the slow cooking process, the finely chopped vegetables break down into the same sized morsels as the ground meat. The aromatic vegetables provide a savoury flavour to the base that cannot be duplicated using just meat alone. I chose to use Cremini or Portobello Mushrooms because of their “meaty” taste and darker colour. Chopping the vegetables finely is much easier if you have a food processor. The cooked meat and vegetable base is cooled, portioned and frozen in 1 lb. packages (about 3 cups). This base is nutrient dense and delicious. Feel free to tweak it according to your taste. Build your freezer reserve then use the frozen packages to make any of the meals listed below. Enjoy!
Yield: 1575 g cooked product (approximately 3.5 lbs.)
- 1 lb. (454 g) lean ground beef
- 1 lb. (454 g) ground pork
- ¼ cup dried vegetable flakes, optional but recommended
- 1 lb. (454 g) Cremini or Portobello mushrooms, chopped finely
- 1 large onion (250 g), chopped finely (about 1 ½ cups chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (15 g), minced finely
- 2 stalks celery (175 – 200 g), chopped finely (about 1 cup chopped)
- ½ small rutabaga (300 g), chopped finely (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots (175 g), chopped finely (about 2 cups chopped)
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 – 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Place the ground meat into a 6 to 7 quart crockpot. Season with of the half of the salt and pepper.
- Using a food processor, chop the vegetables finely and add them to the crockpot.
- Add the remaining salt and pepper, in addition to the remaining ingredients.
- Stir the mixture very well.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or 6 – 8 hours on low.
- Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. It should be seasoned well, savoury and flavourful. Remember that this is a base and other ingredients will be added to it to make other dishes (i.e.: diced tomatoes, chilli powder, etc.).
- Drain the mixture, if necessary. CHEF TIP: Refrigerate any drained liquid in a separate small bowl. The next day, de-fat the liquid by lifting off and discarding the hardened fat. The remaining liquid will be gel-like. Add some or all of the liquid back into the mixture for extra moisture and flavour.
- Portion the seasoned meat blend into 1 lb. (454 g), which is approximately 3 cups and place in a zipper bag or vacuum sealer bags. Close tightly or vacuum seal, date, label, and freeze on a baking tray.
What Else Can I Do With This Recipe:
CHEF TALK: Start with 1 lb. package (3 cups) of Savoury Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable Blend to make these quick and easy dinners with just a few additional ingredients:
Taco Salad: Add 1 – 2 teaspoons (or to taste) of Taco seasoning to the Savoury Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable Blend. Warm the mixture in the microwave or stovetop. Crumble the mixture on top of chopped iceberg salad, fresh tomato wedges, grated Cheddar Cheese and a spoonful of sour cream. Garnish with crushed taco chips. Makes 4 – 6 servings
Please CLICK the link above to access my Urb’n’Spice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Parchment Paper
- Favourite Kitchen Tools: Spatula
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