Chris and I spent this past weekend adventuring around Yosemite. For a first timer, about the only way to express what I saw is repeatedly saying "wow." I've seen the pictures and knew it was beautiful, but there's a magic that can only be captured by first-person experience of standing in the meadows with shear granite cliffs stretching a mile and a half above your head.
If you've never been, put it on your list of places to visit in the near future. You won't regret it.
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 piece of bacon
- 15 oz can pinto beans
- 8oz can tomato sauce
- 8oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 - 3/4 lb grass fed ground beef
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 cup water
- Chili seasoning mix (see recipe below)
Chili Seasoning Mix
- 1 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder (adjustable depending on level of spiciness you prefer)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
Mix all ingredients of the the chili seasoning together. This can be made at home, stored in an airtight bag or jar and brought with you, or you can tote your spices with you to camp if you want to use them for other meals (I found it to be fairly convenient to have them with me). Set mixture aside for the moment.
Chop the bacon and onion into small chunks and place them in your pot. Wrap the poblano pepper in foil and place each item on the grill grate over your fire. You'll want to make sure you have a grate on the fire pit, or bring one with you. The chili will burn if the pot is set directly on the coals. Cover the pot and let the bacon start to sizzle. Let this cook, covered for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to insure it does't stick. The goal here is to get a bit of the bacon fat to start melting and begin caramelizing the onions. Check your pepper. If the skin is starting to blacken and the flesh has begun to soften, take it off the fire and dice into small pieces (be sure to discard the seeds). Feel free to throw the pepper directly on the hot coals if you want a smokier flavor and the pepper to cook faster. It will also make the flesh softer, so it really depends on the your texture preference.
Once the onions are translucent, add the ground beef to the pot. Cover and stir occasionally. Let the meat cook for 5-10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Add the diced poblano and remaining ingredients along with your chili seasoning and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer it cooks, the richer the flavor becomes and the thicker the chili. If you want to keep it cooking for a while, just be sure to check it every now and then to see if it's getting too dry (if too much liquid evaporates, it will start to burn). Add a half a cup of water at a time as needed. Serve and enjoy, hot off the fire.