Kitsnacks: Chili

I’ve been mucking about with chili recipes for ages trying to come up with one that I particularly liked, and I think I’ve finally nailed it.

Catie’s Chili
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 c vegetable stock
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
1 c frozen corn
1 lb (500gm) stew meat, if desired

Heat the oil a bit while you chop the onions into whatever size bits most suits you. Throw the onions into the oil, turn the temperature up to pretty high, and stir occasionally while you’re chopping up the bell peppers into whatever size most suits you. (I like red & yellow ones, which has no bearing on how they’re chopped.) Throw the peppers in with the onions. Stir whenever you remember to. Let them get nice and soft. This takes more than 5 minutes, no matter what other recipes want you to believe.

Put all the spices into a small bowl together. Stir, if you’re feeling really into it. Chop up the meat into smaller bits, if you’re having a chili con carne. Smash the garlic, toss it in, & stir for a minute or so while it browns. You actually have to do this particular bit of stirring or it’ll burn, and burned garlic is nobody’s fave.

If you’re having chili con carne, throw the meat in now & brown it up. If you’re not having chili con carne, skip this paragraph.

Stir the spices in, likewise stirring so they blend and don’t burn. Turn the heat down a bit.

Add the rest of the stuff. Tomatoes first. Maybe you like quite dry chili. Put the first can’s worth in, decide if it looks wet enough. (I didn’t think it did.) Put the second one in. Oh, wait, the tomato paste, put that in. When we say “1 heaping tablespoon” what we mean is “2 tablespoons but who could possibly be bothered to measure two tablespoons of tomato paste.” Maybe you don’t need vegetable stock. Probably you do, though. It’s got all those flavoids. Add the stock. Yeah, that looks about right, now. Oh shit, don’t forget the corn! Okay, the corn is in. Hey, that smells pretty good and it looks nice. Whew, that’s a relief.

Put a lid on it. Set to simmer and come back to stir occasionally. Worry that probably that’s too much liquid after all. Try to set the lid on an angle to let some more of the heat escape. The lid falls back down to fitting properly, but it turns out that’s okay because the amount of liquid when it’s done, after about an hour of simmering and then another hour of sitting on the stove with the heat off while you Skype with family, ends up being exactly perfect.

Eat with cornbread muffins.

(This is definitely good chili, but I also have a cold and may need to tweak it some when I can taste things more, uh, better. Still, it’s a good place to start.)