Merry Christmas, everyone! Here it is, Christmas Eve day, and I thought I’d show you one of my favorite Christmas Eve dinners, this time done in the Instant Pot. Chili. I know, strange to some, as a Christmas Eve dinner.
I know a lot of people have cultural food traditions passed down through their families. Ours was always very simple because we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.
We’d eat and soon after take a drive with Dad to look at the lights and see if we couldn’t spot Santa and his reindeer. Inevitably, by the time we returned, we’d be greeted by a pile of gifts under the tree and the heartbreaking news that Santa had just left!
So dinner had to be something easy to make and clean up. Mom always served Sloppy Joes on Christmas Eve and I did for years, but somehow that morphed into Chili when my kids were teenagers.
I could make Chili ahead (Chili is always better the next day) & after presents, we’d go to Midnight Mass or when older, the kids scattered with their friends. How about you? Do you have a special Christmas Eve dinner you make every year or special traditions you uphold?
The Best Instant Pot Chili
Hint: Roast the jalapenos as you brown the meat and cut the vegetables.
- 2 to 4 jalapenos, roasted & seeded or not, finely diced (see note, below)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
- a good pinch of oregano, preferably Mexican
- about 1/2 beer; drink rest
- 3 cups of cooked pinto beans along with the broth they were cooked in or 2 cans (15 1/4-ounce each) pintos
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes in sauce, pulsed in blender
- 2 tablespoon Masa Harina mixed with 1/2 cup of the liquid in the chili, optional
- Garnishes: Sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, chopped green onion
Heat Instant Pot with 1 tablespoon of oil in the inner liner on Saute until pot is hot. Add in the ground beef, breaking down as it cooks until it has lost its pink color.
Add in the onions, bell pepper and jalapenos and continue to cook, stirring now and then, until vegetables have softened. Add a lid, partially ajar, to speed up the process.
As the ground beef mixture cooks, to a small bowl add the spices, the chili, cumin, salt, paprika, cocoa & oregano. Mix together.
When the vegetables are tender, drain the mixture, if desired. Add the garlic, stir, then all the spices and herbs. Stir, let toast for a few minutes until spices become fragrant. Deglaze with the 1/2 beer. Add in the pintos, then without stirring them in, add the tomatoes on top.
Cover with lid fitted with liner, seal and set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 35 minutes. When done, allow to sit for 10 minutes on the Keep Warm function, then release the remaining pressure manually.
If a thicker chili is desired, mix the Masa Harina with 1/2 cup of the liquid in the chili. Set the Instant Pot to Saute and when it begins to simmer, stir in the mixture. Simmer for several minutes, paying special attention to the bottom of the pot; a plastic spatula works well for this. Turn off the Instant Pot, but continue stirring until the chili is no longer simmering.
Garnish as desired with Sour Cream, Cheese and/or Green Onion.
Note: to roast jalapenos:
- Arrange jalapenos in a row on a foil lined cookie sheet, just touching each other. Place about 4 inches under the broiler. Broil until blistered, two to three minutes, then remove sheet and turn the jalapenos, broiling again until blistered. Repeat until all sides are blistered and slightly charred.
- Place in a small paper bag or a small bowl, sealed with plastic wrap and let sit for about 10 minutes to steam. When cool enough to handle, remove the majority of the charred skin. Roasted jalapenos freeze well and a great shortcut is to make more than needed, then divide in small portions and freeze.
Kitchen & Cooking Hack:
I’ll be taking this Chili to Fiesta Friday, where the best posts this week will be decided by vote on Tuesday. Don’t forget to stop over!