Hmmmm, now does that mean chili, like I meant it, or chilly, as in we froze this weekend? Well, both, actually. It got cold this weekend. Heavy frost. Furnace coming on first thing in the morning (is there anything more comforting on a cold morning than hearing the furnace kick on?). After one of the warmest Octobers on record, November has come in with a blast - we could even get some snow tomorrow night!
But that's not what I wanted to blog about. I wanted to blog about chili. Now, growing up, I was never a huge fan of chili. I didn't do well with spicy food, and for some reason, I usually avoided foods with cumin or chili powder....I know, I'm nuts -- but I grew up in an Italian household, and cumin and chili powder couldn't be farther from the usual household herbs and spices!
However, a bunch of years ago, when Mark and I were still only dating, we went to a work Christmas party where one of our friends had made and brought the most awesome pot of chili. Wow - either I was really missing out, or this guy could cook - I mean, not having a chili history to compare it to, I wasn't sure if all chili was that good or what! But everyone really liked it, and our friend was kind enough to supply me with his version of "how to make chili" and the rest is history.
This weekend's batch turned out well - and since the kids don't really eat it (probably too spicy anyway), I usually have enough for about 4 nights unless I freeze some. I'm still having some trouble finding good hot peppers - last month I used Anaheim's and they weren't spicy at all. This time I used Poblano's and they were even milder. Both times I've had to resort to the powdered cayenne to get a little kick. But despite my pepper issues, it's easy to make, turns out well, and is pure comfort food on chilly...well....chili weekends.
File this one under kitchen sucesses....and if you want to try it yourself, here's a guide.....not a "recipe" exactly, but if you spend any time in the kitchen, you'll know what to do:
bell peppers (red and/or green)
ground meat (beef or turkey - I use 1 1/4 pounds 93% lean turkey)
large can petite diced tomatoes
dark red kidney beans and
light red kidney beans (1 can of each and I usually drain and rinse both)
1 or 2 beers (lately I've been using a deep porter)
chili powder (start with tablespoon of each, increase as needed to taste)
hot peppers (again, go with what you can find, but so far, I haven't found many that impart much heat into the chili)
You can saute the carrot and onion until tender, then brown the meat, then add everything else and reduce for an hour or two or until a desired consistency is reached. Make a day ahead for better overall flavor.
Have fun! This recipe makes 8 solid portions - or 6 if you're feeding hungry lumberjacks. And I usually pair it with some homemade cornbread!