Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chilly Time for Chili

I was shocked when we came back from our honeymoon how the weather had changed. It was as if we left New York in the summer and came back to fall. The weather and unpacking my wedding gifts (see below) inspired me to make a big ol' pot of chili. Not to mention it was a very rainy night and I felt bad for making a delivery guy deliver my takeout (I know, it's their job but still).
Yay, Le Creuset!
I first found a very simple chili recipe in Real Simple a couple years ago. I have since kept the template and made it with whatever herbs and leftover veggies in the fridge.

Quick note - this isn't a fancy chili recipe. It's just something I make fast when I get a hankering for tomato sauce, meat, and beans. For a recipe with more complex flavors, check out lavenderpug's tomatillo chili here.

I like easy food so anything that can all go in one pot is a winner to me. Even better is when I can make most of it with just ingredients and staples I keep in the pantry and freezer such as:
  • taco seasoning packets (reminds me of Mom's taco nights)
  • 28 oz can of plain peeled whole or diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz can Goya pinto beans (it's the only bean I'll eat)
  • red pepper flakes, Worcester sauce, ground pepper
  • jalapenos for heat or more red pepper flakes
  • frozen corn (cheap and pretty)
Flavor Base
Prepare Your Meat:
In a medium sized pot, heat a couple tablespoons of oil. Cook meat on medium high. Use your spoon to break up the meat (this is especially if you're using ground turkey which cooks in clumps). When there's little pink left, drain the fat. 

Bring the pot back onto medium heat. Add your packet of chili seasoning, diced onions, garlic. Cook until onions and garlic are soft and fragrant. 
Onions, garlic, beef - a fragrant combination!
Season and Simmer:
Add your canned tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes a bit with a spoon if needed. Add a cup of water. 
Optional and to taste - Add your seasonings (red pepper flakes, Worcester sauce, a few grinds of pepper)

Bring pot to a simmer and keep on medium-ish heat for 30-45 minutes.You can probably throw everything into the pot, heat and eat. But I think simmering is supposed to develop flavor (I don't know for sure if that is true) so simmer it for as long as you have time for (I can't wait longer than 45 min.). 

Throw in the Niblets (Beans & Corn):
Nothing is precise here which is why I'm not a baker but when you have about 15 min left, throw in the can of beans. I rinse the beans out of the can because of the thick syrup it sits in. A few minutes before you turn off the heat, toss in your frozen corn just to warm it up. It makes a pretty yellow polka dot. 
$6 Anthropologie bowls. Love!

Almost Eatin' Time!:
Plate with pasta first then a few scoops of chili and your garnishes. I like pasta b/c it adds a chewy texture.


(Or if you're me, take barking dog out in rain for a pee, come back inside and wait for husband to come home. Stand over pot and use big spoon to "taste." Eat cheese. Welcome husband home pretending to be good wife in stained tank and sweats. THEN eat.)
I'm Buddy. I demand a bowl of chili.
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Clean Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1-1.5 hours + 15 minute Buddy break 

What's your favorite one pot recipe for cooler weather?


Jennie said...

mmm looks yummy! perfect food for the fall time. poor buddy... you should give him some!

lavenderpug said...

that looks really yummy! i love how we both made chili in the same week--i guess autumn has that effect. mmm, worcestershire sauce...what a good idea.

Annie said...

i like buddy in that pic. He looks hungry! Good recipe!