A Chili Morning (for a Not-So-Chilly Kitchen)

January 28th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Morning Craziness

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.)

White Onion and Poblano Pepper Sautee Peppers and Onions

Just Beef Chili (made without beans)

just print it

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.

Brown Your Meat

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.

Chili Spices Du Jour

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.)

Weekend Food Prep

Like some roasted sweet potatoes?  (Kaz loves them!)

Don’t forget the Brussels sprouts.  (There are unpictured beets in the oven too!)

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.)

Lonely Chili

Chili for lunch!  (Or chili for dinner.)

Topped with a little avocado.

Beef Chili with Diced Avocado

(Or salsa.  Or shredded cheese.  Or greek yogurt.  Or all of the above.)

Dress it up with a napkin. (And a spoon!)

Beef Chili with Avocado

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!


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7 Responses

  • Caitlin says:

    Yum, that looks great! We always add carrots to chili, my kids just love them. In fact when Ari was about 2(?) he was eating them so much…lunch,dinner,cooked,raw….that our doctor noticed the bottoms of feet were turning slightly yellow from all the carotine! Anyway, if you want to speed up the cooking just add the carrots in with onions and peppers at the beginning and sauté till they start getting a bit soft.

    • The same thing happened with Ava as a baby! Except we noticed her turning orange around her nose and above her mouth.

      Putting the carrots in later forced me took the whole thing longer, and I think that effected the flavor? I’ll have to experiment! Thanks for mentioning that adding them earlier will shorten the carrot cooking time.

  • Erin says:

    Carrots are my favorite way to sweeten any tomato-based soups/stews without actually adding any sugar. That and wine. Which may or may not be appropriate with small children around…

    Lovely recipe and stay warm!

  • Vegetarian chili will always remain my favorite (even though AB tells me it’s not really chili, then). I like to use as many different kinds of beans possible. There’s a chili place near where I live whose secret ingredient is chocolate, but I have actually yet to use it myself; it definitely makes for an interesting, complex flavor, though!

    • I’ve seen chili recipes with cocoa powder – I’d like to try it, but I’m scared!

      • Pat says:

        Ali, definitely put chocolate in. It adds a richness to the chili that is awesome, and it balances the spice out. I tried it once and now everytime I make red chili I put in a little cocoa powder, seems like 1 teaspoon for a batch is the correct amount.

        So, for new ideas – white chili is terrific too, you can do it with or without chicken or turkey. I would even guess that you could throw tofu in there for the vegetarian in the house.

        Use the same base ingredients, but no tomatoes. Use a good chicken or veggie stock for the liquid
        Use white beans – Great northern, chick peas, Limas, etc etc. you can mix the beans up for a cool taste and texture experience.
        To get the chili thick, mash some of the beans as it all is cooking and let it simmer for at least three hours, stirring occcasionally to get to the chili consistency you like.
        Finish with a little fresh cilantro.

        The cool thing is that you can play around with this type of chili as well. I’ve tossed in different color peppers to add color and flavor…. It is quite tasty and a nice departure from the norm.

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