As a child there were certain foods I would not go near, even doctored.
My brussel sprouts had to have butter, and even then it was questionable as to whether I would eat them or not. Meatloaf with barbeque sauce was a necessity and chili without cheese was considered untouchable in my book.
Fortunately, things change. You still can’t get me to go near brussel sprouts with a 10-foot pole, but meatloaf and chili have been redeemed by my palette.
With all the rain this weekend, I pulled out my hoodies and my stew pot to throw together some chili.
Texas style chili is what we in the west are accustomed to, including no vegetables outside of the chili peppers, but there are many different ways to enjoy a pot of chili.
In Cincinnati, chili is thinner, generally topped with cheese and sometimes has cinnamon for more depth of flavor. New Orleans style chili takes notes from Texas but adds rice to add more filling ingredients at a low cost.
I grew up on Texas chili with a few adjustments. My mom used a Pillsbury recipe from one of those cookbook magazines from the grocery store. It was pretty basic with ground beef, onions, green peppers, tomatoes in a variety of forms, green chilis, hot sauce, chili powder and the permanently loathed (by me) kidney beans.
Kidney beans were the real reason I would never, without a fight, finish my chili. There was something about the purple-ish grainy things that never sat right with me.
As an adult I no longer have to force feed myself such things and instead make my chili with black beans. My mom does this too now and has for about five years. She says it is because they are more tolerable of a bean, but I think it was because she was sick of hearing everyone whine about the kidneys.
After it rained all day on Sunday, I stopped studying for a while and started baking cookies and, for some reason, decided I really needed chili too (I get in a mode and can’t help myself).
Slicing all the veggies in advance is key if you don’t have master chef-like knife skills (like me). I got my onions sliced without many tears by washing my hands in cold water after each half onion and decided to keep the veins and seeds (where all the heat is) of the jalapenos in only two of them so I could better control the heat of my chili.
I started my chili in a sauté pan and then moved it to my soup pot when it was time to add all the liquid ingredients. I didn’t have enough liquid with just the tomatoes and tomato sauce so I added some beef broth to keep the chili from drying out too much.
A little shredded cheese topped off my bowl of chili and I was ready to go but my dinner guest topped his off with cheese and a cinnamon roll. Apparently that was an old elementary school lunch trick of his. I have to give him some credit, after trying it that way I wanted to put some cinnamon in my chili. Maybe next time.
L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (to life and eat well).
Entertainment Editor Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 pound ground beef (or turkey or buffalo)
2 medium onions
1 medium green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces sliced stewed tomatoes
8 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup beef broth if necessary
Dice onion, bell pepper and jalapenos and set aside. Brown meat and then add in diced ingredients. Cook mixture until veggies have softened and stir in garlic. Drain the fat if necessary.
Stir in tomatoes un-drained, tomato sauce, black beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. If the chili doesn’t have enough liquid for your tastes add the beef broth here. Bring the stew to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.
Let simmer for 35 minutes and enjoy!