I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately. It’s helping me focus and stay calm. It’s been keeping me grounded and present in the moment and it gets my creative juices flowing. Or at least I feel like it does.
I’ve been feeling blocked lately. There is too much weird stuff going on in the world for my creativity well to be full. And it feels like shit. I am usually a very creative person. I have a million creative projects I could be doing, but instead, I cook.
This week, I made two batches of chili. Two, because it was so good, we ate it all and I still wanted more. If you like chili, you might like to try it. This chili is vegan but could be made with any type of meat you prefer. This is what I used.
Also, just so you know, there will be no fancy photos. Just a few crappy ones. And I did not make a cute page to print out with just the recipe. But I did bold the important stuff, so you can easily write out the parts you need to.
Here is the ingredients list:
1 onion- color doesn’t matter. I made it once with purple scallions and once with a honey-sweet yellow onion.
1 bell pepper (or 1 carrot and 2-3 celery pieces or all of the above) The second batch I made had some carrots-peeled and diced, and celery. I ran out of bell pepper.
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced- I like garlic, so if you don’t, cut this down in number.
1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, diced. Or any combo you have or prefer. Or you can leave it out. It’s really up to you, but if you haven’t had squash in your chili, I highly recommend it.
1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of Rotel- including the liquid from both. You could use 2 cans of diced tomatoes, but I like the spiciness of the green chilis in the Rotel.
4 cups of broth or water, if you don’t have broth. I used veggie broth. If you use water, you may need to add a little more salt to your liking.
1-2 lbs of ground meat or meat substitute, cooked. My god-mom used ground turkey and she said it turned out great.
2 cans of beans. I used 1 pinto and 1 black. If you don’t like beans in your chili, make it without. My god-mom did this also and still liked it.
In the second batch, I also used a very small bag of frozen corn. Figured it needed to be used and this was as good a time as any. So basically, whatever you like or don’t like, will work. I almost threw some broccoli and cauliflower in, but decided I would use that for soup. Maybe I will share that recipe in my next blog post.
Ok, now for the spices. I like to put all my spices in a tiny bowl together so I have them ready when I need them.
1 teaspoon smoked paprika- if you don’t have this, try it with regular paprika but you will have to let me know how it turns out. I really love smoked paprika! If you haven’t tried it, get it. I highly recommend it. (ok, back to the spices)
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt- or more to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon pepper
1-2 Tablespoons corn starch
And the directions. It’s really easy!
Sauté onion and bell pepper in a large pot for about 3-4 minutes until onions start to turn clear, throw in garlic, keep sautéing. Now, add the bowl of spices. Sauté until you smell the spices. Takes about a minute or two.
Throw in squash, mix into spices. Cook for a minute or so.
Add tomatoes, liquid and all, into a pot.
Pour in broth.
Add cooked meat.
Add beans, drained and rinsed.
Add whatever else you want, such as the corn.
Cook down on low medium until the squash is cooked. Takes about 30 minutes, maybe a little more.
The chili will be thin. If you like it this way, it’s done. If you want it thicker, like I did, use some corn starch. In a small bowl, add 1 Tablespoon of corn starch. Scoop out some of the liquid from the chili and mix it together with the corn starch. Then pour it into your pot. It’s best to do it this way. You don’t want your corn starch lumping up. Cook for a minute or so to see the thickness. If you want it thicker, do it again.
Now it’s ready to eat.
Top with cheese and onions- green white, purple- whatever- if you want.
Serve with rice or crackers or straight up OR over salad. Yep! I said it!
I have a friend who eats chili on salad and for years, I thought she was crazy. But I tried it one day and it was really good. Surprised the hell out of me! So, if you’re feeling adventurous and need something to shake up your quarantine doldrums, try it.
Eat and be merry. Stay safe and healthy. And much love to all.