I made a pot of chili the other day, thinking chili atop a baked potato was well within our dietary regime. I’ve been a chili lover since Day One. My mother said that the first solid food I ate as an infant was a chili bean – I was the second child. It seems that I didn’t want whatever it was she was feeding me so she gave me a chili bean from what she was eating, figuring I would just spit it out. Not only did I not spit it out, I clamored for more. The rest, as they say, is history.
I don’t have a recipe for chili – it’s one of those things I just make – and never make the same way twice. This batch was no exception. I had some Chili Con Carne seasoning from Penzey’s – spicy flavor but no heat – so I thought I’d start with that. Not bad, but it wasn’t a chili base like one of those bags from the grocery store. I added cumin, chipotle powder, oregano, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper…
I soaked the beans overnight and then cooked them for a bit more than an hour. The base was a bit of clean out the refrigerator – bell peppers, onions, half a yellow zucchini, a couple of radishes, garlic cloves, and tomatoes and peppers from the garden all went into the food processor and then into the pot after browning some ground beef with the spices. I let it simmer for a while and then added the mostly-cooked beans to finish in the sauce. And then let it simmer some more.
A cup of chili over half of a baked potato was not a bad dinner!
But wait! There’s more!
Tonight, the chili became an open-faced Chili Burger! One roll, split in half, topped with a chipotle mayonnaise – two chipotles in adobo mixed with a couple of tablespoons of mayo – topped with a grilled burger, topped with chili, and then topped with a bit of sour cream. Homemade french fries on the side.
Fun, filling, and oh, so good! Chili, like soups and stews, really does improve with age and this batch aged to perfection!