Nothing beats a warm bowl of chili on a cold day—this version uses a secret ingredient to keep the beef tender and juicy.
In medium bowl, combine beef, water, and baking soda. Use rubber spatula to mix until well combined. Set aside.
Set colander in sink. Pour beans into colander. Rinse beans with cold water and shake colander to drain well.
In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking). Add onion, bell pepper, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for 1 minute.
Add beef mixture and cook, breaking up meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Carefully stir in broth, tomatoes, and drained beans. Use wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on bottom of Dutch oven. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through (use oven mitts to handle hot lid).
Ground beef is an easy base for chili as it doesn’t require any preparation such as chopping or slicing beforehand—just put it in the pot and go! This convenience comes at a price, however, as ground meat can give up a lot of moisture as it cooks and becomes dry and pebbly. To keep the beef tender and moist, treat it with baking soda. Yes, baking soda! The baking soda raises the meat’s pH, helping its proteins attract more water and lock it in during cooking. This keeps the meat juicy and also helps it brown more quickly.
Follow these three easy steps to prep bell peppers: