2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive oil or canola), divided
1- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (chuck or round)
1 large onion, finely chopped (I prefer yellow or red)
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder (according to taste)
2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (26.5 ounces) beans (black or red kidney), undrained
Tabasco Sauce (optional), to taste (I use at least 1 tablespoon)
Shredded cheddar or jack cheese (if desired)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and brown for 6-7 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and crumbles. Remove beef from dutch oven and drain.
2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to dutch oven. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Add 1/4 teaspoon each, ground black pepper and salt. Add chili powder to vegetables. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
3. Return ground beef to dutch oven, stir to combine with vegetable mixture. Add the 2 cans of diced tomatoes with the juice, and stir well to combine. (If mixture doesn't seem to have enough moisture, add 1/2 - 3/4 cup warm water).
4. Bring contents of dutch oven to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for an hour and 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove lid from dutch oven and add the beans. Add Tabasco sauce (if using), and stir all ingredients to combine. Allow to simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until beans are heated through.
6. Serve in bowls and garnish with shredded cheese if desired.