Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Fall Chili

As I embark on this blog post, it is already 11:56, and something tells me that I won't quite finish in four minutes... so I guess that means that this is technically Recipe Friday. On the way back from Charlotte this evening we got stuck in one of those epic traffic jams where you don't even have the option to exit the highway, and two hours goes by and you've only moved a half a mile. Everyone's favorite! I made it home a lot later than expected, but was determined not to miss Recipe Thursday because I actually cooked something this past weekend. Once the weather starts to cool off I find myself constantly in the mood for soups, so I decided to make chili. What I love most about chili is the fact that you can take all this:

From left to right: Kidney Beans, Tomato Paste, Garlic, Vegetable Broth, Jalapenos, Pinto Beans, Red and Green Bell Peppers, Crushed Tomatoes, and Chili Powder. Not Pictured: Cumin, Oregano, and Hot Sauce

... and throw it in a pot for an afternoon, and get this:

Another lovely food photo... it really was delicious!

... not to mention all kinds of leftovers! I like to freeze half and then thaw it out on a night when I'm feeling particularly lazy. This recipe is loosely based off of the one that came included in the instruction manual for my crock pot. I always improvise a little, depending on what we already have and what I can find at the grocery store. No two batches are ever the same, but no matter how creative I get with my substitutions, I don't think that you can really ruin chili.

Actually, I take that back. A long long time ago, when I was not such a big fan of chili  (which, looking back, probably stemmed from my hatred of all things ground beef), I plotted to ruin my mom's recipe. Chili night was a dreaded night for me- one that usually meant staying at the table for an extended period of time while everybody else got to watch Wheel of Fortune and other fun evening activities. Oh, the misery! My mom had this trick with her chili, where she would add a little bit of Hershey's syrup at the very end to cut through some of the acidity of the tomatoes. In an effort to make the meal slightly more palatable I came up with the plan to sneak in more than a healthy dose of syrup while nobody was looking, working under the assumption that more chocolate = better food. The meal was served and everybody dove in, including me. I was disappointed when I found that it was just as nasty as always and quickly fell back into my normal chili sulking routine. The boys were really good sports about it, though. I have to give my dad some props for not saying anything about the overly chocolatey chili until my mom brought it up. Needless to say the jig was up for me, and I received some form of mild punishment for sabotaging the meal. This just goes to show that taste buds can grow up, and people can sometimes end up liking the foods they were force-fed as children.

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