Chili So Many Ways

So I don’t usually write about particular recipes. There are some on the site, and I reference them occasionally, but today I want to talk chili. This is probably related to the 12qt pot of it simmering on my stove right now. I love chili. First, it’s delicious. Well, good chili is anyway. I have had some not so great chilis in my life. It’s rare though.

One thing I love is that Chili accepts change. It’s a dish that says “Okay, ya, you can do that.” Do you want it with beans or without? Do you like it spicy or mild? Do you want to eat it with crackers or Fritos or just by itself? Some people even put it on pasta. I personally am not one of those people, but I won’t judge you if you are. For me, the essentials of chili are meat, tomatoes, onions, beans and spices. Ya, I don’t really ever make the no-bean chili. But from there, you can get creative depending on your mood or depending on what’s available at the local grocer.

I have this recipe that I posted a while back. However, even I don’t follow the recipe to the letter every time. For example, I’ve recently started substituting one tablespoon of the regular chili powder for a tablespoon of New Mexico hot chili powder. I’ve also occasionally used other chili powders such as adobo. The meats also vary. Sometimes it’s a mixture of pork and beef. Sometimes it’s just beef. I don’t know if I have ever done one that was all pork. I use ground meat, but some people prefer something like diced chuck. Again, it is very flexible. I always change the amount of chicken broth or beef broth, depending on which I have more of, based on the type of tomatoes I’m using. For example, today I got some great beefsteak tomatoes on sale and roma tomatoes. These tomatoes produce a lot more liquid as they are cooking down. So I reduced the broth from 6 cups to 2 to start. You can always add more broth during the cooking process. It’s really disappointing if you put too much in too early. I mean some people like a runnier chili, but I’m not one of those people. I want a thick, hearty stew.

Then there are all these other options. What kind of onions? Well, that depends on what is in my pantry or what is on sale down the street. Jalapenos or no? This is totally a whether I have it on hand thing. Siracha? Sometimes, but not always depending on how I’m feeling about spice. The only thing I don’t mess around with is the beans. It has to be dark red kidney beans. But other people do things like black beans. Some people think any bean is fine. I don’t agree with those people, but they eat their chili how they like.

And I don’t care what my mother says. It is never too hot for chili. First of all, chili dogs? When do you eat chili dogs other than while watching baseball? Okay, I will eat them almost any time, but my logic still seems sound. But I will also make myself a nice bowl of chili that I’ve pulled out of my freezer pretty much any time of year. As soon as I know we have taken the last package from the freezer, I plan when I’m going to make another batch. I make as much as my pot will hold, and we eat it for a day or two and then the rest gets frozen in portions that feed about 2 people.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done a previous blog on chili, or at least that it was featured prominently in one. What can I say? I really love chili.

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