When I heard that my mother, my aunt, my brother, his wife and their baby were going to be staying at our house this past weekend I decided to be practical in my planning for meals and to stick to what I know. I’ve been making chili since I was in college and, although I occasionally consult a cookbook, I generally trust my instincts about what to put in it. I’ve learned that a few basic ingredients are necessary to make the chili taste good. I dislike green peppers in any other form, but find them essential to chili. Also, garlic, tomato paste, and onions. This time I followed Mark Bittman’s suggestions in his How to Cook Everything recipe and used chicken stock and cumin and thyme. I like to think of a pot of chili as a gradually growing and expanding vat of yumminess because you just add ingredients one after the other.
Here are all the ingredients I used, in the order I added them:
1 cup baby carrots (chopped in to 1 cm slices)
1 green pepper (diced)
1 medium sized onion (diced)
2-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can dark red kidney beans and 1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
32 ounce package of organic chicken broth
1 large can diced tomatoes
When I look at my list of ingredients above I am kind of amazed that that’s actually all that went in to the chili. It comes out tasting so rich and lively, it’s hard to believe it’s so simple. To make it even more simple for yourself, be sure to encourage your family, friends and other guests to assist you with the chopping of the vegetables. Since this was going to be a main dish for a bunch of non-vegetarians, I added about a pound of ground turkey, which I cooked in a separate saute pan before adding to the mix.
Like any chili, this tastes better if it’s cooked and sits for a few hours before it’s consumed. After all the ingredients had made it in to the pot, we made a trip out to the pumpkin patch while the chili sat for the afternoon. Later, I made a package of corn bread (I actually prefer my corn bread super sweet, Jiffy-style, but used two boxes of Hodgson Mill instead), which was a nice companion to the chili. I got rave reviews from my guests, but I guess since they were stuck in my house for three days they didn’t have much choice other than to say nice things about my cooking.