Other than my 20 year escape to California, I’m a Midwesterner born and raised. I know what winter is about in this neck of the woods, and my sturdy Italian-American stature makes me physically suited to it, but baby it’s cold outside… and snowy, too. When the temperature doesn’t register in real numbers, it’s time to crank up the love and the stove in Mama D’s Kitchen.
Among other things, Chili is a great winter warmer. There are many types of chili and when you factor in the variations on the types, you could make a pot of chili every day of winter for the next ten years or so. Mama D has lots of “Pot of Love” recipes, but Chili is what she’s been craving. I have two favorites. One is ready in about thirty minutes, the other takes quite a bit longer, but they are both delicious and slightly outside the chili box (bowl).
Having made chili many different ways over the years, I somehow knew it wasn’t true Mexican cuisine. It originated in Texas and by some accounts is the state food. While other cities like Cincinnati and Spingfield have there own interpretations, Chili hails from Texas. To learn more about the Chili Story check out this website History of Chili.
White Chili is theoretically not chili as the actual chili content is limited to some fresh or canned chilies and a little chili powder. This “chili” has been very popular in recent years. I think the fact that the “carne” is usually “pollo” may have something to do with it. Also it is somewhat lighter in body and heat which makes it favored by the masses. Wherever it came from, it’s here to stay and I’m glad.
This recipe is based on several different recipes that I combined and then there’s that Mama D love… It can usually be made just by raiding your pantry, A good thing when going outside is hazardous to your health.
The next Chili recipe blends tradition, a small dose of healthy and just pinch of quirky; Chicken/Turkey Mole Chili at your service. This chili has no beans. There is a raging debate about “with or without beans”. I like it both ways and I think there is room in the chili world for all variations. The base of chili is another debate. Tomato sauce, chili powder and red kidney beans ruled the 50’s and 60’s. A more interesting sauce base is made from dried chilies. This takes some time and makes a bit of a mess, but I think it is worth it. You are creating Chili Stock. Dried chilies (available in most large markets) are simmered in stock until soft. These get a whirl in the processor or emmersion blender and then are strained to get rid of the skin. The result is a rich dark liquid that will become the foundation of this chili.
This Chili also uses fresh chilies specifically, Jalepeno and Poblano . The Jalepeno goes in raw, with the other aromatics. The poblanos go in “roasted”. Roasting gives a smoky flavor and also removes the skin which can get unpleasant when cooked. There are several ways to roast a chili; over a fire (or the stove burner); on a grill; or my favorite and I think the safest, under the broiler. Broiling takes the shiny deep green peppers to a paler, slimier pepper in about 15 minutes. Once they are stemmed and seeded they can be chopped and added to the chili pot. See the recipe for complete directions on roasting and peeling chilies.
Mole is a classic Mexican sauce. There are easily as many mole recipes as there are chili recipes. Fruits, nuts, spices, and yes, chocolate have all made an appearance in Mole recipes. This recipe uses two types of chocolate; unsweetened cocoa and Mexican Chocolate.
The chocolate I use is Abuelita, now made by Nestle. This is traditionally used for quick Mexican Hot Chocolate since the sugar, chocolate, and spices are already in it, and those same ingredients make it a great addition to this chili.
The thermometer is still registering unreal numbers. The heat hasn’t shut off for more than 30 seconds in two days. I have not stuck my nose or any other body part out of the house since yesterday morning, but I have my chili and my footies so life is good.
Love, Mama D