This chili is not merely a meal, it's a memory, a hearty and comforting embrace in a bowl, to be eaten with a spoon. The real magic happens when you dress it up with cheese, sour cream, green onions and drizzles of sweet aged balsamic like Dark Chocolate or Black Mission Fig. The upgrade is up to you!!!


1 pound (1/2 kg) lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh EVOO
2 tbsp Garlic olive oil (or 2 cloves, minced)
1 bell pepper (any colour), roughly chopped
1 tbsp Cayenne olive oil
1 425g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained  
1 425g can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 425g can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped (reserve juice)
3 tbsp quality tomato paste (Mutti is a good one)
2 cups beef or vegetable stock
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp Kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, more to taste 

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oils over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers then cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. If using fresh garlic, add it now and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef and cook until browned, crumbling the meat into small pieces. Stir in cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for another minute to toast spices. Add tomatoes, juice and tomato paste. Combine with meat mixture. Then add beans and stock and stir to combine. Bring chili to a gentle boil, then simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning adding more salt, pepper and spices as needed. Once the chili has thickened to the desired consistency, remove it from the heat. Serve hot with garnishes including shredded cheese, chopped green onions, cilantro, sour cream and tortilla chips. Optional: Drizzles of Fig or Dark Chocolate balsamic.