Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chili With Things You Never Thought To Include

Fall is officially here in Nebraska, and that means chili! I love to make a big batch and freeze the extra. You can simmer it on the stove or in the crock pot . . . I haven't yet tried it on the grill but I bet it would work in the proper container!

One of the things I love so much about this recipe is how forgiving it is. The batch you see pictured was prepared mostly one day, but I stopped before adding the carrots and just after adding the spices. The next day, I put it in the crock pot on high so the carrots could cook through and it was just fine. "Carrots?!?" you say? Yup. Read on. There are a TON of notes on this, sometimes I just can't help myself . . .

Chili - adapted from a fun cookbook called Quickies for Couples

* 1 lb hamburger, browned (I brown several pounds at a time and freeze it)
* 1 large yellow onion, diced (I use my chop wizard or the food processor with an onion from our garden)
* 3 garlic cloves, minced (I use bottled, you can get away with 1 Tbs garlic powder if it's all you have) * 1 - 15 oz can chili beans (I've not yet tried to recreate the spice mixture in these)
* 1 - 15 oz can great northern beans (I sub homemade cooked black beans from dried - I make a big batch and freeze extras)
* 1 - 46 oz jug of Spicy V-8 (this was the first year I tried using home-canned spicy tomato juice and it was awesome!)
* 4 large carrots (I used ones from our garden)
* 2 c corn (I am blessed that my parents freeze a bunch for us using a process similar to Amy's Sweet Corn Harvest post, though they microwave the corn to cook it)
* 2 green peppers, diced (I used four or so green pepper pucks and just tossed them in frozen)
* 1 Tbs chili powder
* 1 Tbs cumin (adds GREAT flavor - if you've never used it, you really should try it!)
* 1 Tbs oregano (did you know this really is used in Mexican cooking as much as Italian?)
* 1 tsp thyme
* 2 tsp salt
* 2 Tbs sugar (very important - it helps balance the acidity from the tomatoes)
* salt and pepper to taste - you'll need more salt if you use homemade beans from dried

I know that ingredient list seems long, but it's worth it!

Brown the hamburger over medium heat (or thaw/warm it, if frozen) along with the onion. Add garlic, and cook a few minutes, then reduce heat to low. We like the taste of beans but not so much the texture in chili, so I either run them through the food processor or mash them with a potato masher. Add them and the V-8 or tomato juice to the hamburger mixture, cover and simmer.

Peel carrots if necessary (if you're using garden carrots, you can sometimes just give them a good wash) and shred on a box grater - or I just chop them up a bit and put them in the food processor with the same steel blade I used to chop up the onions and puree the beans. Add to the pot along with the corn and green pepper. Stir in the spices. Simmer, covered, over low heat for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Personally, I think the long simmer is to meld the spices, which can also be done while the chili is cooled and refrigerated or frozen - so feel free to skip that step if you'd like . . . it just won't taste quite as good as it will the next day. (I know Katie has a post that touches on this but I just can't find it right now!) Since I've tinkered with the recipe so much, it yields more than the six servings noted in the book; I'd guess closer to 8, maybe 10 servings, depending on size. We love a big sprinkle of cheese on top!

For a ton more bean and legume recipes, visit Katie at Kitchen Stewardship's carnival of super foods this week. Yum!


Angela said...

I am definitely going to have to try this sometime, it sounds great!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

I'm sorry it took me so long to visit from the beans carnival! Yikes! This recipe is making me salivate!

Since I'm long-winded too, here goes:

*to recreate the chili beans in a can, try 1.5 cups pinto beans, a can of tomato paste, and 1Tbs (or more) chili powder.
*did you know there's such a thing as Mexican oregano?
*I bet I should try adding sugar to my chili...
*You may want to change 3 Tbs garlic powder to tsp - I'm thinking Tbs might overwhelm the chili!
And I LOVE cumin, too, but I don't put it in my chili...yet! :)

Thanks for joining the beans carnival! Hope to see you this week for the Super Foods edition Foods (which include basic things like garlic, onions, and apples).


Lenetta said...

Thank YOU, Katie! I will give your "chili beans" a shot, though with all my garden tomatoes, I keep thinking there ought to be a way to make tomato paste that doesn't involve a lot of humidity in my house. Hmm, dehydrator? That could get weird. :>)

I did NOT know there was such a think as Mexican oregano - herbs are on my "to learn someday" list. :>) Wonder how different the flavor really is?

I put some sugar in pretty much everything with tomato. It really helps cut the acidity.

And finally, I do put a lot of garlic in, but I bet you're right. The initial recipe calls for 3 cloves, minced - that must be where I went astray. Thanks for stopping by!