Care Package Chili

Last week, I dropped off a little cooler care package with my friend who is dealing with a sick spouse, and the mix felt like a good formula: Beef & Black Bean Chili (something kid-friendly and crowdpleasy) + Lentil Salad with Feta, Dill, and Jammy Tomatoes (something healthy) + Frozen Baked Ziti from the local Italian specialty store (something no-cook on my end). I’m working on a better version of the lentil salad, but here’s the chili recipe for anyone who is interested. Longtime DALS readers know the drill with this one: It’s been turkeyedthree-beanedchickened, even Beyonded. Beef seems to be the final frontier. (Only on the weekends for us, lol.)

Beef & Black Bean Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
dash red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound ground beef
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 teaspoons oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

Suggested toppings: shredded cheddar, sour cream, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, plantain chips, cilantro

Heat the oil in a medium pot set over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring every now and then, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute, until the tomato paste darkens slightly. Add the beef and chili powder, breaking the meat up with a fork, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook until the spices get sizzly, about 3 more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have a chance to deepen and meld together, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans and cook until warmed through, another 2-3 minutes. Serve in bowls with desired toppings.

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