Tart cherries lend their fruity, tart flavors to this hearty beef and bean chili in this Tart Cherry Chili that is lightly sweet and super satisfying.
Pitting Fresh Cherries
That was the gentle warning as the bubbling pot of chili hit the table.
Those who have pitted pounds and pounds of cherries know. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be careful, those little buggers are sneaky and like to stay hidden.
One hard crunch on a pit won’t do much harm, but it will create caution for the rest of the bowl.
But hey, chewing carefully means you’re eating slower, which is better for your digestive system anyway.
So really, I was doing us all a favor.
Using Cherries in Savory Dishes: Our Tart Cherry Chili Recipe
Since our recent trip to Door County, WI to pick cherries, we have been trying to find new ways to use them, particularly in non-dessert dishes.
This cherry chili plays on the cherry’s sweet and tart flavors, accenting the sweet with a hint of brown sugar and bringing out the tart with a splash of apple cider vinegar.
The light nuttiness of pinto beans adds the perfect depth to the dish, while the carrots are right at home in a sweet-ish glaze.
There isn’t too much heat here, but if you prefer, you can leave out the jalapeno that we add in at the end. It’s just there to add some final flare.
Tart Cherry Chili
- 1 lb ground beef (85-90% lean)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced thin
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 c tart cherries, pitted
- 3 c cooked pinto beans, drained if canned
- 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes (un-drained)
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¾ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp thyme
- Pinch cloves
- 1 Tbsp jalapeno, minced
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot add ground meat and cook until browned, 5-7 min.
- Add onion, garlic, and carrots and sauté until onion is soft, 5 min.
- Add cherries, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, and spices (except jalapenos). Mix well. Add ½ c water if necessary to think out the chili.
- Simmer chili, covered, for 1 hour.
- Add jalapenos and simmer an additional 5 min, uncovered.