Ah, the prospect of a cold beer and a hot cup of chili after a long hike through the snow! Chili is a cinch to make and freezes well, so when it’s time to de-ice yourself or clear your sinuses, dump some chili in a pot, add a little water and let it simmer while you thaw out by the fire. Some chilies are tomato-less and studded with beans. Others, like this southwestern-style one, contain few whole beans and lots of tomato. Refried beans thicken the stew, while a few spoonfuls of chili powder, cumin, cilantro and lime juice give it just the right kick. If this is the reward for enduring those biting winds, winter has never looked better.
1½ pounds ground beef, 85 percent lean
½ pound ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes and their juices
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely ground hot chili peppers
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes
1. Season the ground meats all over with salt and pepper.
2. Place the tomatoes and their juices in a large bowl. If there are basil leaves, discard them. Crush the tomatoes with your hands. Stir in two large pinches of salt.
3. Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat and cook, crushing the chunks with a fork, until not longer pink, about 10 minutes.
4. Transfer the meat to a bowl. Wipe the pan dry with a paper towel and return it to medium-high heat.
5. Add the oil. When hot add the red onions, garlic and a large pinch of salt and sauté until the onions have softened but still have a bite, about 3 minutes.
6. Stir in the cumin and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the ground chili peppers and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the meat and cook for 90 seconds more.
7. Add the refried beans, the tomatoes and their juices, and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 3 hours, adding water as the liquid evaporates.
8. Add the cilantro and the juice of 2 limes. Season to taste with more salt, chili pepper and lime juice. Serves 6. Adapted from Jeanne Pearlstein. –Jill Santopietro for The Boston Globe.