January 29, 2009

A recipe that works for YOU

You know how sometimes you find an interesting recipe but, oh man, I wonder if we have any red curry paste in the house? Maybe we should just get pizza instead. Or, hmmm I don't have time to pick up parsley and I really can't make this without parsley...

How about a recipe that works WITH you. It works FOR you. You tell it what to be, what it's going to include. Forget takeout, forget packaged food. You DO have all the ingredients. Readers, I give to you...

World's Most Flexible Chili Recipe
Step one is to mostly ignore this recipe. If you don't have something, leave it out or substitute something else. Be creative. The more ingredients you have, the more it will taste like, well, regular chili. But the more you substitute the more likely you are to discover a really awesome chili-type thing.

The major players:
(Use any combination major player ingredients, but about this much)
2 15 oz. cans of beans (kidney, black, pinto, whatever)
4 cups chopped vegetables
1 lb. ground meat

The flavors:
2 Tbl. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
salt & pepper
2 Tbl. red chili powder
2 Tbl. cumin
1/2 cup vegetable or any stock
1/2 cup dark beer
1/2 cup tomato paste
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, chopped

1. Heat oil over low to medium heat, saute garlic and onions for 5 minutes.
2. If using meat, add now and cook until no pink remains (7-10 min). If using uncooked vegetables that will need time to cook fully, add now (like squash, eggplant, mushrooms). Otherwise skip to next step.
3. Add the rest of the "flavor" ingredients and mix. Eyeball measurements.
4. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
5. Add beans and any pre-cooked or quick-cook veggies (like frozen corn, leafy greens). Keep on heat for another 15 minutes.
Serve with sour cream, Tofutti, grated cheese, olives, you name it! Feeds 4-6.

Here are two variations I just made recently:

Manly Yet Healthy Chili (pictured above)
Use 1 lb. 100% grass fed ground beef, 1 can black beans, 1 can kidney beans. Include about 4 cups total of chopped kale, mushrooms, green peppers and corn. Use all "flavor" ingredients as listed. In step 5, add 2 Tbl. instant espresso.

Pumpkin White Chili

Use 5 cups pumpkin, chopped into 1" pieces (keep skin on). Use with pinto and kidney beans. Leave out tomatoes and tomato paste. Add 1 extra jalepeno pepper. In step 5, mix in 2 Tbl. creamy peanut butter.

What are some of your favorite chili variations? Next time I'm going to include seaweed somewhere in there...

By the way this recipe is part of The Nourishing Gourmet's Soups and Stews Carnival. Thanks Kimi!


Culinarywannabe said...

I love it - a recipe that "works with you!" I was just telling my husband yesterday that I'm putting our ordering-in on hold and we are going to force ourselves to eat what's already in the house. This looks delicious and perfect for our new goal!

Lori said...

I tried roasted pumpkin in my chili this year and love that addition. I love peanut butter in my chili too. So glad others out there like that. I thought maybe I was a bit odd. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds about like what I do. But, being from Texas, I insist on no beans in my chili (and more beer). :) The picture looks delightful, though, and makes me want to go whip together a batch of chili right now.

Kimi Harris said...

Hi! I got your comment on my site, and would love to add you in to the carnival (when I switched to wordpress, for some reason a few people stopped getting my updates, sory about that!). If you could just add a link to the carnival that would be great. :-)

Kimi Harris said...

(And the chili looks great, by the way!)

amandalouden said...

btw, I tagged you for the Honest scrap award

Michelle said...

Culinary--let us know what you cooked up! It's a great thing to do, eating your pantry clean :-)

Lori--And I thought I thunk up the pumpkin/peanut butter idea all by myself! Maybe it's more common that I thought.

foodrenegade--no beans in chili?? really? is it go beef or go home?

kimi--i'm so happy to find that your blog is alive and well despite the feed mixup! thanks for adding me to your carnival!

amanda--the honest scrap award? i have no idea what that is, but thank you! even without a clue about it, it sounds...about right.

VeggieGirl said...

Sensational recipe and concept!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Mmmm.... I love every version here. That's one of chili's greatest features: its versatility.