Thursday, January 15, 2015


During the winter months, we often get some rainy days and cooler temperatures (anything below 80 degrees F is considered "cool"). That kind of weather makes me want to make chili.

In order to give into this craving, I turn to our most trusted recipe*…

…which comes from The Silver Palate cookbook. As you can tell from the various blotches, we’ve used this a lot and have never been disappointed.
I get the party started by heating about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and roughly chopping up some onions.

The onions cook away over low heat until they are tender and translucent.

Next up is the meat. Because ground beef is so lean here in Belize, I use only ¾ pound of that and add ¾ pound of ground pork. To make things a bit sassier, I also add some Italian sausage.

All of that gets crumbled into the pot. I turn the heat up to medium-high and start the browning process. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be patient and allow the meat to become well browned. That caramelization will pay big dividends to the taste later on.

While the meat does its thing, I gather up the rest of the ingredients. The play list includes red wine, cumin, coriander, oregano, chili powder, Dijon mustard, whole peeled tomatoes, and tomato paste…

…and their very close friends, chopped garlic, salt and pepper, fresh chopped oregano, and fresh basil leaves.

The recipe doesn’t call for those last two fresh herbs, but if I have them growing in our garden, I usually throw them into the mix. I know, I’m such a rebel.

When the meat is all nice and brown, I add all the ingredients mentioned above. 

The whole tomatoes are drained and I smush them up by hand. You could use a wooden spoon for this, but I find hand smushing works better. But if you're like me, no matter what method you use, tomato juice will squirt someplace other than the pot.

After giving the mixture a good stir, I add some black beans or kidney beans. Now I can hear the cries of outrage now. Either there are those fanatics who don’t believe beans have a place in chili to begin with or those who only believe that kidney beans are the blessed legume to be used. But on this occasion, I had leftover black beans from a previous meal, and decided to buck the trend and use ‘em. If you don’t like it, sue me.

Anyway, with the black beans making their defiant statement in the pot, everything gets a another stir, taste for seasoning, then simmers away for a bit. Oh my. What goodness.

Now just like there is the debate about beans in chili, there is also a debate – at least in our house – about how to plate it. While I prefer just to have the chili au natural in a bowl, David loves to have his served over noodles.

But regardless of the way of making or plating the dish, this chili is a winner.

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