Tag Archives: chili

Whole Lotta Chili Goin’ On

As we leave Halloween behind and prepare to make a quick stop at Thanksgiving before plunging headlong into Christmas, it is important to note that as the weather and decorations change, so does what the Kitchen of Love turns out. Friends, we are at the cusp of Chili Season. This is a season (and dish) that loves Fall, adds a bit of zest to Winter, and can make the coldest, dampest Spring day feel a little less bleak.

This dish for almost all seasons has many versions and a history that rivals many urban legends. I would guess that almost every cook has a version and that there are as many dos and don’ts as there are recipes. It’s not from Mexico, but the spice profile is. It is the subject of an ongoing, often heated debate; beans vs. no beans. Native of Texas, but with possible roots in the Canary Islands. Created in a nun’s vision or out of necessity. We may never know for certain and many articles have been written. What is certain, however is that any way you like your chili is all right.

I’ve shared several chili recipes over the years, but I do believe that there is always room for one more. This one features a wide variety of chilis in different forms, hence the name. It starts with my homemade red chili sauce made with ancho and guaillo chilis. There are roasted poblanos and canned green chilis to give some texture and mild heat.

Jalapenos join onions and garlic for the vegetable base.The spices include Ancho and Chipotle Powders, which brings the chili total to seven. That’s a “Whole Lotta Chili.”

There is also debate as to whether tomatoes should be added. I have done chili both ways and they each have their merits. This version uses some tomato paste partly for a little more richness but mostly because there were a couple of tablespoons left in the tube.

All of these flavors require a protein profile that is just as varied. Smoky Bacon, Chicken Thighs, and Turkey Italian Sausage rounded out the meats. There was about 1-1/2 pounds total. I used what I had on hand, but you could go with beef, ground or chopped, or all ground turkey. Even skip the meat and double up on the beans (if you are of the chili with beans army). Remember there are no rules for chili…as long as you aren’t serving it to Texans.

I am a staunch member of the chili with beans club, so I doubled down with Kidney and Black Beans. I love the pasty yet meaty texture of Kidney beans (How’s that for a description?) and the smoky flavor of Black Beans. Together they gave some added depth to the chili.

Chili seasonings are only limited by the chili maker’s taste and spice cabinet. You can choose screaming hot or sweetly spicy depending on your sensibilities. I tend to be a savory and mildly spicy kind of gal ( and Papa D wouldn’t want it any other way). I have even put Mexican Chocolate in my Turkey Mole Chili. For this recipe however, I stuck mostly to tradition and used plenty of Cumin, a touch of Coriander, and a healthy amount of Mexican Oregano. Yes, there is a difference, try it. I opted for Ancho and Chipotle Powder instead of Chili Powder; It was a personal choice, use what you really like.

I added some Corn Broth to the chili sauce mainly because I had it in the freezer. Chicken or vegetable stock works well, too. I like my chili on the thick side. That requires a thickening agent. I used Masa Harina. This is fine ground corn flour. Add some water or stock to the flour and shake it like crazy to create a slurry. It works quickly and cooks out to a subtle corn taste that I love.

This is just one suggestion for chili. I have several of them in my recipe archives, if you are inclined to, browse. A winter kitchen needs at least one chili recipe. Take this one as a starting point and make it your own.

Whole Lotta Chili
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Whole Lotta Chili
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it renders some fat and is just beginning to brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add the chicken and turkey sausage to the pot and cook until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, and jalapeno to the pot and cook until the onions soften and everything smells wonderful.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend it in. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the chili sauce and stock along with the chili powders and oregano. Stir in the green and poblano chilis. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
  6. Add the rinsed and drained beans to the pot and let everything simmer another 15 minutes.
  7. Increase the heat to a low boil. Shake the masa harina with a half cup of water in a jar until it is well blended. Stir the mixture into the chili and continue to stir until it thickens.
  8. Give it a taste and adjust the ingredients as needed. Serve.
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A Cozy Nest and a Pot of Something Wonderful (Chicken & Poblano Chili)

Winter is here. There is snow on the ground and ice on the streets. It’s the time of the year when those of us who live in the Midwest turn our thoughts to curling up on the couch with a good book and a loving partner. Weekends at home give us time to fall in love with our new surroundings. The small apartment that seemed almost claustrophobic is becoming a cozy nest  as we add a picture here and a shelf there. Slowly the treasures we kept are finding new places and as I look around from my place on that couch it looks like home.

Nothing makes a cozy nest smell better than a big pot of something wonderful simmering on the stove. If you’ve been following along with my adventures, you know that soups (click here for some of my favorites), stews, and chili come out of my kitchen regularly. On a recent cold and snowy weekend I made some chili that was the perfect accompaniment to quality time spent inside.

i-peppers-anchochiliI started with some dried chilies, Ancho and Guajillo to be exact.guajillo chili Anchos begin their life as Poblano chilies. These are quite mild and became the repeating theme in this dish. Guajillo start out as Mirasol peppers. These are smokey and sweet with just a touch of heat. This wrinkled and leathery duo were the base for my chili. Before they could become the deep red sauce that held the other ingredients together they had to toast and soak, then whirl in the blender to finally be strained through a sieve. The beautiful sauce only needed a touch of agave and a pinch of salt to become the perfect base.DIGITAL CAMERAPoblano peppers made several more appearances. Fresh peppers were roasted and left raw as well for a wider flavor profile. I also used Ancho Chili Powder along with the essential heavy dose of Cumin.

I used “chicken bits” for the main protein. This is what I call the trimmings from chicken thighs and breasts that I accumulate in the freezer and save for just his kind of occasion.DIGITAL CAMERAI used a bit of bacon as I do in most chili that I make. Chopped finely and cooked off in the pot, it got things rolling. I drained the grease, but left the brown bits. I added a little olive oil and added the chicken to brown slightly.DIGITAL CAMERAThere had to be plenty of yellow onion and garlic along with the poblanos and jalapenos. Ground cumin and ancho chili powder cooked along with the veggies to deepen their flavor. The browned chicken and reserved bacon went back into the pot. I added a little chicken stock and more than a little hoppy beer to kick things up just a little. I added a can of fire roasted tomatoes that I had partially drained as well.

Everything simmered for a good 45 minutes, then I added a can of pinto beans that were drained and rinsed. Another 15 – 20 minutes and it was ready to eat…but not really.DIGITAL CAMERA The flavor was good, but as with many soups it’s even better in a day or two. So it camped out in the refrigerator for two days. There’s a double bonus here. It tasted great and was as easy to get on the table as heating it up and spooning it into bowls. I topped it with a little smoked gouda cheese. DIGITAL CAMERAThe smokiness of the cheese complimented the smokey undertones of the chili. It takes a bit of time to make this. The recipe is long, but it is fairly easy. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon and the resulting pot of wonderful is worth the effort.

Chicken and Poblano Chili
Print Recipe
This takes time, but it is worth the effort. Use different chilies to adjust the heat. It would be great with pork and black beans or what ever ingredients you love.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Chicken and Poblano Chili
Print Recipe
This takes time, but it is worth the effort. Use different chilies to adjust the heat. It would be great with pork and black beans or what ever ingredients you love.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Sauce
Chili
Servings:
Instructions
To Make The Sauce
  1. Use kitchen shears to cut open the peppers. Remove the stem and the seeds. Place the peppers in a large roasting pan. Place in a 300 degree oven and roast for a few minutes. This is to warm the peppers slightly and begin to release their oils.
  2. Heat the water to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chilies. To keep the chilies submerged in the water, place another pot into the chili pot and weight it down. Allow the chilies to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Check to see if the chilies are soft. If they aren't let them soak a few more minutes. Once they are soft, remove them to a strainer and allow to cool.
  4. Working in batches, blend or process the chilies with fresh water. (1 cup chilies to 2 cups water) the mixture should be fairly smooth, but there will be bits of skin.
  5. When all of the chilies have been processed, pour the mixture through a fine sieve. Use a spoon to press as much of the liquid chili through the sieve. Discard the pulp in the sieve.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of agave syrup to taste. This makes a good 4 cups of sauce. Use in the chili recipe. Freeze the extra.
Chili
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off the drippings, leaving any browned bits. Add the olive oil to the pot.
  2. Add the chicken bits to the pan and cook until lightly browned. Cook in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan. Work on roasting the poblano peppers while the chicken cooks.
  3. Use a broiler to roast 2 of the Poblano peppers. Place the peppers on the broiler rack and position the rack about 3 inches from the heat source. Broil turning frequently until the peppers are blistered and blackened all over. This may take up to 10 minutes depending on your broiler
  4. Place the roasted peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 5 - 8 minutes. The skin should come off easily. Remove the stems and seeds and chop and set aside
  5. Chop the remaining poblano pepper and add it along with the onions, garlic, and jalapeno to the soup pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers and onion are softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Add the cumin and chili powder to the pan and cook for 3 minutes more. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot and stir to combine. Add the beer to the pot stirring to loosen any brown bits. Cook for a minute or so.
  7. Add the chili sauce, drained tomatoes, roasted poblanos, and the chicken stock. Bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  8. Add the pinto beans and continue to cook 15 minutes more. This can be served immediately, but it is better after a day or two in the refrigerator.
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I added a salad of grape tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado that was lightly dressed with a lime vinaigrette. Warm corn tortillas rounded out the meal.DIGITAL CAMERA

Winter is sure to hang around for at least another month or two. Take the time to make your own pot of wonderful.