Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chili weather. Chilly weather? Chili weather!

[this post was originally published on 11/14/2012]

And it's Slow Cooker to the rescue...

Completely against my better judgement and indubitably to the eternal chagrin of Spouse I decided that this weeks large meal will have to be vegetarian chili. Largely because I have all the ingredients and I don't really want to go to the grocery store. Yeah, that's how I roll.

So, I could go ahead and post some sort of recipe here, like 4 cups pre-soaked beans and 3.5 oz of name your ingredient, but let's face it, that's not how I cook. I cook using relational quantities and often adjust to achieve the taste and 'feel' I am looking for.

So, here's how *I* make chili:

  • Roughly the same quantity (by volume) of beans, tomatoes and onion
  • About half of that in peppers, less if they are hot.
  • If I have some other kind of vegetable laying around (you'd be surprised how often that happens around here) I may throw that in, too, at which point this becomes *whatever* chili. If I had ground meat of some sort laying around, this would not be a vegetarian version.
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic in whatever form I have
  • salt

Soak the beans over night (wash and sort first)
Next morning, find the crock pot, wash the dust off the crock pot, position it on the counter somewhere where it will not be in the way.
Cut all of the remaining vegetables into roughly equal sized chunks(I often process large quantities of veggies and dry them for later use, doing this in approximately the same size every time helps)
Rinse the beans
Throw everything into the pot.
Add some water, just enough to wet everything well. Think not quite soupy.You can use beer for this, but all we had was chocolate porter and I prefer to drink that.
Add Garlic. Err on the side of caution.
Add chili powder, again, err on the side of caution.
Add a teensy little bit of cinnamon. We're talking a pinch for each two handfuls of other stuff.

Set the whole mess on high for a while, until you have a nice boil going, then turn down to medium and taste. This is when you can add some more seasonings if needed. Salt and Cayenne come in here.

Let simmer for a few hours, it will thicken up and smell absolutely drool worthy.

If you can't watch this (crock pot, so you can set this in the morning and go) just set to medium and let her go.

I have eaten some variant of this over noodles, rice, bread, chips, crackers, couscous, and all on it's lonely own, so this is up to you, too.

I cook in camp follower quantities, so I can or freeze some of this (if canning, pressure and according to Ball Blue Book). When re-heating I often add some form of meat, depending on how the fancy strikes me.

Have a great day and happy cooking.

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