Sunday, 29 January 2012

Yo Quiero Chili

Chili is the ultimate improvisational meal. Like a chameleon, it can adapt to the climate, and to your cupboard.  It also has the added bonus of falling under that "so easy even an idiot could make it" category that I enjoy so much.  So what better way to kill a sloppy, chilly Saturday afternoon then by making a pot of nice, sloppy chili?

The starting lineup.

Absolute essentials:

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can mixed beans
  • Onion
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • Meat
This is my bare-bones recipe for basic chili. Everything listed can be bought for less then $10 total, and it should feed at least 3 people.

 In this case, I had to feed more than 3, so I ended up using 1 lb of ground turkey AND 1 lb of ground beef for the meat - turkey is healthier, but beef has that distinct flavour you cannot reproduce.  Either works well alone, but why not use both?

Additional Ingredients:
  • 1 Orange pepper (the best colour of pepper - nice mix of sweet and hot)
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper (for that little extra kick... take out the seeds, though)
Gotta add some colour to the mix. I considered adding corn, but there was actually no room left in the pot. 

The "Special Ingredients":

These would also make an interesting drink. 

While the inclusion of Frank's Red Hot sauce should be self-explanatory, adding whiskey is a personal touch that I feel gives the chili a warm, sweet flavour. Cooking it down seems to kill any alcoholic bite from the whiskey, which is nice when you're feeling the effects of drinking said whiskey the night before.
Healthy stuff and unhealthy stuff.

Meat - brown it.
Vegetables - chop 'em.
Beans -  open can and rinse.

Combine all of the above in a large pot. Add crushed tomatoes, seasoning mix, and anything else you find in your pantry.

That chili looks thirsty. Here, let me help.

Add salt and pepper. Stir everything thoroughly. Cover and begin simmering on low.

The best part of making chili? You have several hours to kill before you eat, with only the occasional stir necessary. To beat the boredom, I recommend some chili-cookin' music.

3 to 4 hours and several taste tests later, it's done.

Mmm mmmmmm.

How do you know when chili is done, exactly? It's entirely up to the chef, but I like to cook the chili down until the onions and peppers are pretty much liquified. Chewing should not be required.

It's not easy to plate chili nicely, but I think I managed.

The final product was excellent; a hearty, healthy meal full of rich flavours and high in fibre, protein and other nutrients.

Please comment! And feel free to leave me recipe suggestions.


  1. I will be making this for Super Bowl Sunday :)

  2. It also freezes well in serving size containers for those nights of heavy homework. Sounds good.! I like to add chunks of cheddar to the bowl (I use a bowl for chili) it melts nicely and can lessen the heat of the pepper.

  3. Try adding about 1/2 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground cloves. These spices give the chili a different but delicious flavour.