Saturday, March 27, 2010

On making chili ...

There are many variables and recipes for making a good bowl of chili. I've actually posted several different recipes here on my blog at various times. I think everyone makes their own favorite recipe and they make it just a little (or a lot) different from the next cook. More people disagree on what makes good chili than any other dish. Some think hotter is better. Others say milder. Some like it soupy. Others like it thick. Chili is more than food for the body. It is truly a comfort worth remembering. But there are several important decisions that will govern what sort of chili you're going to make.
1. Will it be the traditional tomato-based chili?
2. Will it be a white chili? (made with white beans and usually chicken)?
3. Beans or no beans? (One of the most hotly debated chili issues is the use of beans in chili. According to the International Chili Society, beans are expressly forbidden). But I'm not cooking for a competition, so that part doesn't matter to me and I like adding beans to chili. Beans are full of fiber and nutrition as well as color and texture!
4. Meatless or not?
5. The other important thing to remember when making chili is the toppers. They add so much flavor and dimension to the finished product.
I have a wonderful recipe here for a tomato-based vegetarian chili using black beans. I got it from my daughter. The cayenne pepper gives it a nice hot kick!

Katie's MEAN Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
1 can Southwest style diced tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped green onions

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle chili into bowls. Pass chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, and green onions separately.


  1. Looks delicious! Here's a great kidney bean chili recipe I tries recently that was real good! You might like it.

  2. Hey Veggal!
    Thanks for sharing the kidney bean chili recipe. I never would have thought of adding ginger!