I think I've mentioned on this blog before that I have a slight (formerly avid) aversion to hot, stewed tomatoes. This has put me off many a pasta dish, and for a long time, chili too. Then, about five years ago, I had a bowl of really delicious chili at a restaurant in Carlisle called the Market Cross Pub. The pub serves their chili with cheese and red onions, and it was so delicious, especially on a chilly fall night, that I knew I needed to try making it myself.
For a long time I stuck to the McCormick version, altering the recipe on the back of the seasoning packet only slightly by adding brown sugar. I tried a few different vegetarian versions, and even one of those pumpkin/ground turkey variations, but it wasn't until Chelsey gave me this book that I found the one. The one chili recipe that is greater than the rest, that could not be improved upon by any ingredient or anybody.
Just do yourself a favor and make it, even if the ground cinnamon sounds odd.
-two medium onions
-two cloves garlic
-two medium carrots
-2 celery sticks
-2 red bell peppers
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-salt & pepper
-1 15 oz. can chickpeas
-1 15 oz. can red kidney beans
-2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
-1 lb. ground beef or turkey
-1 small bunch of cilantro
-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-optional: rice, plain Greek yogurt, guacamole
-Prepare the vegetables by peeling/de-seeding, and then finely chopping each variety: carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Heat a very big pot over medium heat, add about two tablespoons of olive oil and add all of the chopped vegetables. Then, add the spices: chili powder, cumin and cinnamon, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every thirty seconds or so, for seven minutes.
-Drain and rinse the chickpeas and kidney beans, and then add to the pot along with the canned tomatoes. Add your choice of meat, and stir in, breaking up any larger chunks. Add one empty can worth of water to the pot.
-Pick the cilantro leaves off the stalks and set aside in the refrigerator. Wash and finely chop the stalks, then stir into your bubbling pot. Add the balsamic vinegar, and season again with salt and pepper.
-Bring the pot to a boil, and then allow to simmer with the lid slightly askew for one hour and fifteen minutes, stirring every now and then.
-Serve however you see fit: this is great over rice or a potato; however, I like it best alone, in a bowl, with some plain yogurt and cilantro on top. Also delicious with guacamole.