It’s cold here. (Like, really cold.)
It’s so cold that it’s possible some mornings I turn the oven on before I even turn the coffee maker on.
Just kidding. (Let’s not get ridiculous.)
But it’s true that it’s cold, and it’s also true that cooking in the morning is a great way to warm up my chilly kitchen.
Chilly kitchen. Chilly morning. (Can see where I’m going with this?)
I’ve made lots of chili in my day. (Maybe you have too.) From plain old vegetarian chili made with beans, to lentil chili (made with, uh – lentils), you can make coconut curried red lentil chili or get all crazy with other vegetables to make butternut squash and black bean chili or even black bean sweet potato chili with quinoa, and don’t forget about tempeh chili too.
The possibilities are endless. (They are even more endless when you start cooking with meat again.)
Vegetarian chili or not – any chili made here is going start the same way it always does. (With peppers and onions.)
Just Beef Chili (made without beans)
1 – 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive)
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced (or diced or minced)
1 lb ground, grass fed beef
28 oz canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 carrot, peeled and diced
chili spices to taste (I used cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and Tabasco sauce)
In your oil of choice, saute vegetables until soft and onion is translucent. Add beef and cook until it’s browned.
When your meat is cooked, add your favorite chili spices and allow them to cook together for 3 – 5 minutes before adding other ingredients.
Sometimes I’ll buy a packet of chili seasonings, and other times I just throw together spices from the cupboard.
My chili seasonings of the day were paprika, cumin (in an oregano jar), chili powder and tabasco and some salt.
Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste and diced carrot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about an hour, or until your carrots are soft.
As (another) aside, I’ll tell you that the diced carrot was a last minute decision – just to up the vegetable count by one more. What I didn’t count on was that it took FOREVER for those dang carrots to soften up! (ok, maybe not forever.)
I believe the forever-cooking carrot gave this chili an awesome, subtly sweet taste – so awesomely subtly sweet that I highly recommend the addition of some carrot, even if you find yourself getting annoyed at said carrot for taking its sweet time to cook.
And since we’re waiting on our chili, we might as well continue to warm up this kitchen. (It’s still a little chilly in here.)
Like some roasted sweet potatoes? (Kaz loves them!)
And with the other half of that onion and pepper, maybe make some spicy red lentil chili. (For your non-meat eating spouse.)
The best thing about chili that cooks all morning? (Special thanks to that seemingly stubborn carrot.)
Chili for lunch! (Or chili for dinner.)
Topped with a little avocado.
(Or salsa. Or shredded cheese. Or greek yogurt. Or all of the above.)
Dress it up with a napkin. (And a spoon!)
And dig in.
My kitchen isn’t feeling so chilly anymore. (But it sure smells like it.)
I loved this, but I think I’ll always love vegetarian chili too. Do you have a favorite kind of chili? A favorite chili ingredient or spice? We’ve still got a winter full of chilly kitchens ahead of us here, I need more chili ideas to try!