The word "chili" always seems to spur a debate about beans or no beans. I think beans are great, but we have actually come to prefer a meat-full, bean-free chili, so that's the one I'm sharing here. I do think it would work equally well with both beans and meat (or even all beans!) if that's your preference.
1 pound pasture-raised ground beef (elk or deer is excellent, too)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
Approximately 1 pound diced tomatoes (either canned or frozen works great)
4 Cups (plus more as needed) beef or chicken stock (that BBQ chicken stock I made was so good in this!)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 Tablespoons chili powder (plus more according to taste)
salt and black pepper to taste
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. In a dutch oven, brown the ground beef.
2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Let cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
3. Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
4. Add tomatoes and stock
5. Simmer for at least 30 minutes before tasting to adjust seasoning. The longer it simmers, the better!
note: We like our chili on the thicker side. You may want to add more stock for a more soupy chili!