This is my second most favourite dish ever, only coming behind popcorn. I've been making it for years, although since I can't really remember the first time I did it I have no exact basis for time. As a result of the apparent memory loss, I also can't remember whether I used a recipe or not the first time I did this, and honestly, either is likely.
Before I say anything else about my awesome chilli recipe, you should know two things: first, that everything is a rough approximation in terms of ingredient quantities, so feel free to shake things up as you like. A general ratio is this, two or three parts meat, and one part for every different vegetable that you add after. The tomato sauces are the only exception to this rule-of-thumb, since you just keep adding sauce until the chilli has a nice consistency.
Second, even if you use only two thirds of the vegetables listed below, you will get a lot of food. I happen to be rather fond of that, since its quite fun to make a shit-ton of good food; it's very therapeutic cutting all those vegetables into itty bitty pieces and then cooking them for a very long time. Plus, you can freeze all the extra food and use it for those occasions when you have no time to cook, but all the inclination to eat healthy.
As far as I'm concerned, the thing that this chilli's got that no other does, is this: variety. Most chilli's call for about three different ingredients, beef, beans, and tomatoes. That's extremely dull. In this recipe, those three ingredients are the most important, granted, since they make it a chilli, but it's all the other endless veggies that make it special.
Kitchen Sink Chilli
2 tbs butter or lard
1 lb hamburger
1 large onion
3 large carrots
2 sticks celery
1 sweet potato or winter squash
1 turnip or small rutabaga
2 bell peppers
1 jalapeño (or more if you like it spicy)
3 medium potatoes
1 cup of green tomato (great for fall chilli or when using preserves)
1 cup of shelled peas
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
3 large kale leaves or a good handful of some other garden greens
a handful of chives
2 cans sweet corn
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
1 can diced tomato
2 cans crushed tomato
2 cans tomato puree
2 bay leaves
a pinch of: cayenne powder, garlic powder, cumin, chilli powder,
two good pinches of salt to taste
NOTE: Ingredients are listed in the recommended order of addition.
2nd NOTE: I regularly swap out fresh ingredients for preserved ones, like canned squash or dehydrated kale.
Locate a very big pot and cook the hamburger and butter in it.
As the burger cooks, chop all the raw vegetables into bite sized pieces, starting with the densest ones first, such as the squash, and ending with the more delicate ones, such as the kale. As you chop the veg toss it into the pot to cook. Burner heat should be medium-low to low.
Regularly stir the veg as it cooks, and add a bit of broth or water to keep the bottom from sticking.
Begin adding your preserved goods; sweet corn, assorted beans, and any other vegetable preserves you want. If the chilli is too dense to mix feel free to add some broth or water, but just a little, as most of the moisture comes from the tomato sauce.
Find a carrot in the mix and take a bite; if it's nice and tender then continue to the next step, if it's still crunchy and tough cook all the veg for a bit longer. *
Add all of the assorted tomato products, and stir to combine.
Add the various spices and combine. Taste test to be sure that you're satisfied by the flavour.
Continue to cook on medium-low heat for another hour or so, stirring occasionally. As it cooks down be careful to avoid burning the bottom of the chilli to the pot; if sticking does occur remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes before stirring thoroughly and continuing to cook.
Serve with toasted rye bread or corn chips.
*This is the only important step, testing to make sure that the veg is cooked before adding the tomato. The tomato sauce somehow halts the cooking process of stuff like carrots. Trust me, I've ruined several batches of chilli by having undercooked carrots in it, and they never softened no matter how long I let the mix boil for.