Have You Discovered Blue Apron Yet?
On Saturday Fed Ex dropped off a couple of large boxes from Blue Apron, “a new concept in grocery delivery, built around incredible cooking experiences.” A friend of ours sent us their once-a-week subscription service because they were out of town and thought we would enjoy the service and we do.
Here’s a brief description of how it works but I’ll write a more detailed review after I’ve tried a few more of their meal selections. Basically, once a week, Blue Apron delivers “all the fresh ingredients you need to make 3 meals, in exactly the right proportions.”
You get to select the type of plan, meat, vegetarian, with or without fish and the number of people you want to feed. You also get to see ahead of time what the 3 meals are going to be and decide yeah or nay. In our first box, we decided to start with the 3 Chili Beef Chili recipe.
3-Chile Beef Chili with Red Kiney Beans & Pepper Jack Cheese
As you can imagine, this chili recipe uses three types of chilies – Poblano and Cubanelle, both mild and not too hot along with a Serrano pepper from Mexico that adds a “spicy, complex finish.”
In my opinion, go with the type of chilies that you enjoy most, are available in your local markets and yield the heat you and your family can handle. No use preparing a great chili that’s too hot for your kids to enjoy. There’s always hot sauce you can add to your own serving if needed.
This recipe is for 2 – 3 servings. We received two boxes to serve 4 – 6 servings depending on who’s eating so if you are looking to serve more, just double the recipe but add the chili spice blend and cilantro to taste.
3 Chili Beef Chili Recipe
1 Cubanelle pepper
1 Poblano pepper
1 Serrano pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt & pepper, to taste
10 ounces ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons chili spice blend
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drain and rinced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed, stems discarded and chopped just before adding to pot
2 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, grated
How To Prepare At Home
Start by preheating your oven to 500°F and getting the rest of ingredients ready to work with. Wash and dry the vegetables. Mince the onion and garlic. Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems.
Remove enough of the peel from the lime to mince enough for 2 teaspoons of lime zest. Cut the remaining lime into quarters. Peel the avocado, remove the pit and cut up into dice size pieces. Add the juice from two of the lime wedges to keep the avocado from browning.
Roasting the Peppers
Coat the peppers with a little olive oil and place them on a sheet pan. Season with salt & pepper and place them into the preheated oven. Roast for about 7 to 9 minutes. When the skin looks browned and starting to blister, they are done and can be removed from the oven. They are hot so wait till they cool off to remove and discard the seeds and stems. Chop up the peppers and reserve.
Preparing the Chili
Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and then the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper, cook until the ground beef is browned. This will take just 2 or 3 minutes.
Reduce the head to medium heat and add the garlic and most of the onion but leave a little for garnish at the end. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the onion softens and starts to become translucent.
Add the chili spice mix but only to taste. If you like it spicy, add all of it, but if not, go with less. You can always taste it while it is cooking and add more. Let the chili cook for another minute or two and be sure to keep stirring so nothing burns.
Add the crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, lime zest and reserved chopped peppers plus 1 1/4 cups of water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, stirring every once in a while so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns.
Now is a good time to taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Remove the pot from the heat and add some of the chopped cilantro. Stir and taste to see if it needs more cilantro. Some people like cilantro more than others so adjust according to tastes.
Plate & Garnish
Serve the chili in bowls and garnish with the reserved avocado, grated Pepper Jack cheese, a little minced onion and remaining cilantro. Add a wedge of lemon to the plate and serve.
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