Thursday, August 18, 2011

Canning 101: Chili (Pressure Canner Needed)

One of my favorite all time recipes to can for use later is chili.  My husband and I used to be chili snobs (at least that's what I like to kid) because we really just liked ONE type of chili.  But, even my husband admits that this recipe is as good as the chili we used to buy or better.  And the best part?  This recipe calls for ground turkey (you can use beef though) so it's super healthy for you too.  I also used black beans in this particular batch, but I've found you can use pretty much any type of kidney bean too (go figure) and it'll come out just fine.  The neat part about this recipe too is that it uses canned beans and canned tomatoes, so it takes like no time at all to put together.  This recipe is doubled to get the amount you see above.  I used 2 lbs of ground turkey, 4 cans of tomatoes and 4 cans of black beans before I thought that the chili was the right consistency for us, but use your own judgment on how you like yours)

Canning Chili (adapted from Turkey Black Bean Chili from the Jennie O Turkey Website)

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey or beef, browned (you can go as low as 1 lb and use more beans or you can go as high as two pounds and use less beans...I love chili this way, it's so darn versatile).
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion (I used frozen ones I had in the freezer)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I omitted this and just used tomatoes with the pepper already added in)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (you can also use about 2 teaspoons garlic powder if you don't have fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (I use about 3 times that much, but we like spicy chili)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (I omit this and just add more chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes drained (I used the Hunts with celery and pepper already in it just because it was easier)
  • 2 or more cans black beans, drained (depending on how thick you like it, you can also use kidney beans too or a combination of black and kidney beans and it doesn't seem to effect the flavor much)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

Easy Peazy Method:

Put all ingredients listed in a crock pot and cook 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.  And you're then ready to can it.

OR, Go the More Traditional Route

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and simmer for about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld.  This is a good time to get your jars and lids ready and nice and hot, all prepared for the coming canning session and to get your pressure canner  prepped and ready to go...remember to follow your directions that come with your canner!  Stir your chili occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan.

Fill your canning jars to the bottom of your canning funnel and screw on your lids as I explained in the Ginger Syrup post.  Process at 11 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes for pints or 25 minutes for quarts (at least that's what my canner calls for...follow whatever your canner directions are for soups and stews for time and pressure settings).

NOTE:  After reading through the Ball Blue Book for Home Preserving (which I finally invested in), it turns out I was canning chili out and out WRONG (along with soups and stews).  You are supposed to pressure can to the lowest acid ingredient that is called for in the recipe, so chili would be 70 minutes canned at 11 lbs pressure.  Luckily we never got sick canning it wrong, but I just wanted to note that for everyone else reading!

Remove from canner, place on a kitchen towel and let jars cool.  After 24 hours check seals.  If a seal fails put the chili in the fridge and use as soon as possible (like within a couple of days at most).  Trust me you think this stuff tastes good BEFORE you put it through the canning process wait until it sits in a jar for a little bit.  Best chili EVER!  In my opinion anyway ;).

I had a friend of mine add a bit of beer to the recipe too and swore that it tasted even better, but I've never really cared for beer in a recipe one way or the other (and we don't drink beer around here), so I've never thought to try that.

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