2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced, depending on your heat tolerance
1 (540ml ) can tomato sauce
1 (796ml) can crushed tomatoes
½ – ¾ cup maple syrup cup maple syrup, depending on your sweet tolerance
1 (540ml) can kidney beans, drained
1 (540ml) can pinto beans, drained
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 pounds lean ground beef
salt to taste
2 bottles of beer, or as needed
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeno peppers. Cook and stir until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, maple syrup, and beans. Season with black pepper and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the ground beef. Sprinkle beef with salt. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease; then stir the cooked beef into the chili along with 1 beer. Cook and stir for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt, and thin to desired consistency with the remaining beer before serving.
When I think about maple syrup, I always seem to flash back to when I was in grade school, and they would take us to the maple farms in the early spring. The sap would have just started to run, and there would be snow on the ground. To us simple kids, it would look like water dripping ever so slowly into metal buckets, drip… drip… drip… And there was always the patient guide, dressed up like the male or female version of a pioneer, explaining to us the importance of this “water”. We didn’t care. We were frozen. We just wanted the good stuff! The dark rich amber liquid that was boiling away in a kettle, reducing from what seemed like tap water, to sweet, delicious syrup. The best part would be when the guide, finally would give in and ladle some of the syrup onto the fresh clean snow and we’d break our teeth on maple taffy. Ahhhh a parent’s nightmare and a dentist’s dream. More than one kid always seemed to get lock-jaw when they couldn’t unhinge their teeth after taking too big a bite. But man, it was worth it!
I may have grown up a little since then, well, I’ve aged at least, and I no longer go on school trips, but I still have a warm place in my heart for maple syrup and syrup farms. As I mentioned earlier in the week, COR has a number of syrup companies that we certify, but I’ve been speaking to one in particular lately, which is Maple Orchard Farms. I was discussing with David Knappett, the president of the farm, about this blog and savoury recipes using syrup and he mentioned to me that he puts syrup on his chili! I thought, “why not?” Sweet and spicy? It could work! So today’s recipe is a chili that calls for syrup to be added into the recipe itself, not just drizzled on top like David does it. I hope David won’t mind that I’ve changed the way he makes it! I guess you could be a purist though and leave the syrup to the end and just drizzle a little over each serving like he does. To each his own… as long as there’s syrup!