Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wanna start an argument?

Chili recipes. They'll do it almost every time. What is it about chili that brings out the hard-headedness in folks? Must be tapping into some genetic aggressiveness factor.

People tend to like my chilis. I say chilis because I never make it twice exactly alike. And that's because I don't believe in chili recipes. When people ask for the recipe I stumble around a lot and end up confessing that I don't have one. Not a real, legitimate recipe anyway. When I cook I use highly scientific terms like squinch, pinch, handful, coupla shakes, etc.

I was hungering for it yesterday and so made a batch of my quick version. It takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish and is pretty good. Here's how I do it when no fresh ingredients are available yet.

In a pan I put two cans of Kuner's No-Salt black beans— any other kind will do as well probably. Add one can of anybody's stewed tomatoes. Add one coarsely chopped small to medium Vidalia onion. Sliced fresh peppers are good if you have them. Sweet bananas are best in my opinion because they won't overpower like jalopeƱos can. Add a couple of handfuls of whole kernel corn. Put on low heat and add spices. A couple of large pinches of cumin; a double-squinch of chipotle pepper powder; a big three-fingered pinch of coarse oregano (I like the Mexican oregano available from Penzey's Spices, see note below); many shakes of adobo; a fat pinch or two of cocoa powder. A pinch or two of sugar or sugar substitute like Splenda. Let it come to a goodly simmer.

This is meatless and very good. It's a dark,thick, rich, smoky chili that is really satisfying. It makes enough for five or six generous servings. Today, for lunch, I still had the remains of a nice top round roast I had done on the grill. I cut a bit of it into lean half inch cubes and dropped about eight of them into a bowl of the chili. Two minutes  in the microwave and lunch was ready! A couple of corn tortillas from the toaster oven, a glass of tea (sweet Southern style!), and a fair-to-meddlin' repast is at hand. 

I call this Anasazi Chili because I imagine it to be pretty close to something the Indians of that name would have made from what was available to them. It's almost unthinkable that they wouldn't have made something we would have recognized as chili.

Oh, no beans in chili, eh? Them's fightin' words, pardner!

About Penzey's. Last Christmas I received an enormous gift box of their stuff, mostly geared to Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking: assortments of dried peppers, various chili powders, the works. They were my source for the wonderful coarse Mexican oregano and the ground chipotle pepper powder. They're online at Good outfit.


Tmagnum62 said...

That will be tried here.

Chris said...

I've never understood the Chili purists who proclaim that "beans don't belong in chili!"


Beans make it marvelous.

theotherryan said...

Maybe it is that I am not from a region that is big into chili but I haven't found one that matches Nalley in my eyes to date.