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Spice up your chili

It’s not necessarily cold enough to turn on the heat, but the nights are definitely getting cooler. That means pulling out the sweaters and warming our bellies with a good bowl of chili. This recipe from the editors of Cooking Light is only moderately spicy but still quite delicious. I substituted pumpkin beer because that’s what I drink this time of year, and used only one can of beans so there would be less for my daughters to pick out. For extra crunch, top with thinly sliced radishes. Serve with hot buttered corn bread. From “The New Way to Cook Light” by the Editors of Cooking Light (Oxmoor House, Oct. 16, 2012, $34.95).

Poblano-Jalapeņo Chili

Cooking spray

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin

2 jalapeño peppers

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped seeded poblano chiles

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 (12-ounce) bottle Mexican beer

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. (I used 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.) Add beef; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

Remove and discard seeds and membranes from one jalapeño; finely chop both jalapeños. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add jalapeños, onion, poblanos and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 12 minutes or until about half of the liquid evaporates. Add chili powder, cumin and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beef, marinara, broth, beans and tomatoes; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thick. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups chili into each of eight bowls; top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro.

Serves 8.

– Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette