"Sweet-Heat" Chipotle Lager Chili w/ Honey-Cornbread Muffins

My wife was craving chili today, and I like to try and keep her happy, so I made my famous 'Sweet Heat Chili'  for her.  The sweet and the heat both come from the Chipotles in the recipe.  My favorites to use are the kind marinated in adobo sauce.  You can find them in the Mexican aisle at most grocery stores. They don't give you an unbearable heat, just a smoky tasting heat that gets you in the back of the throat a little.  My wife can't stand spicy dishes, and she loves this recipe.  If you really want no heat at all you can take the jalapeno out of the recipe and add a little sugar.  If you want more heat, add more jalapenos, ground cayenne, and chipotles.  That's whats so great about chili - you can add, take away or change what you like to suit your preferences and it's still going to be chili when you're done.   One of my preferences is to use more than one kind of bean to create a little variety in textures.  I like Pinto Beans and Kidney Beans, but Black Beans can be pretty tasty as well. Again, it's what you like that matters.  The recipe I most frequently use is as follows:
Sweet Heat Chili
Chili Seasoning Mixture
1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tbsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Ground Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp. Paprika
1 tbsp. Coleman's Dry Mustard
5 tsp. Ground Cumin
pinch of Ground Cinnamon
1 medium Yellow Onion (diced)
1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Jalapeno (finely diced, no seeds)
3 Cloves Garlic (sliced)
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 - 15.5oz. can Light Red Kidney Beans
1 - 15.5oz. can Pinto Beans
1 - 28oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 - 28oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
1 - 6oz. can Tomato Paste
1.5 lbs. Ground beef (80/20)
12 oz. Lager-style Beer
2 Chipotle Peppers in Adoba Sauce (diced)
  1. Begin by combining the kosher salt, chili powder,  black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, dry mustard, cumin and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. On medium high, heat vegetable oil in a large stock pot, then add diced yellow onion, diced green bell pepper, diced jalapeno pepper, and sliced garlic cloves.  Saute until tender.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and juice, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, light red kidney beans, pinto beans, and Chili Seasoning Mixture  Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. On medium high heat, cook ground beef in a braising pan until cooked through. Drain grease from pan and add the beef to the stock pot.
  5. Add 12 oz. of your favorite lager and 2 diced chipotle peppers.
  6. Turn heat to low and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the beer and chipotles are added to the chili it needs a good 30 minutes to sit on low heat and give it time to let the flavors really blossom.  That’s why chili is always better the next day - because it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours and all the individual ingredients diffuse themselves throughout the chili giving it a new depth of flavor.  But if you want the chili the same day, at least give it the 30 minutes to rest on the stove.  This gives you the perfect amount of time to prepare an extremely easy sidekick to your chili, the honey-cornbread muffins.  The sweetness of the honey compliments the heat in the chili perfectly, so definitely try them out.  You will be using them to scrape your chili bowl clean, I promise.
Honey-Cornbread Muffins
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp. baking powder
2/3c. sugar
2 tsp. iodized salt
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. honey
2 eggs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place baking cups in 12-slot muffin pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl mix milk, eggs, melted butter, and honey.
  5. Combine egg mixture to the dry mixture and blend together completely.
  6. Evenly divide mixture into muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating once halfway through cooking.  They should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into center of muffin.

(Chase sure did love the muffins)
Like I said before, chili is all about preference, so if you prefer, add sour cream, cheese, green onions, tortilla chips, bacon, whatever you like.  Just make sure you try the muffins!!

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