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Chili Ideas

Chili is such a versitle dish and with a base recipe you can modify and explore making your perfect Chili. It also freezes well and is usually better the next day, so great for leftovers. Let's check out a basic recipe and at the end my favorite version.

In this blog we are going to explore a basic recipe and then explore ways to modify it. Then, we will look at ways to serve your chili and use it for multiple meals. At the end, I’ll share will you my favorite chili recipe.

Basic Chili

To make a basic chili you can start with some simple ingredients:

- Onions

- Beans

- Tomatoes

- Chilis or Chili Seasoning or Salsa

So just sauté some onions, add a can of beans, a can of tomatoes and some green chilis or your favorite salsa, chili powder or chili seasoning to taste. Easy peasy.

Let’s Make it Special

So what can I add to the chili? Variety is the key. Here are some basic ingredients to consider, pick out your favorites:

- Carrots

- Celery

- Different Kinds of Beans

- Bell Peppers (any color)

- Shallots

- Garlic

- Corn

- Sweet Potatoes

- Mushrooms

- Spinach, Chard, Kale, any Green

So how to spice it up!

This is where it gets really fun. You probably already have some favorite, they might be chili spice blends, a specific type of chili, or certain spices that give you the flavor profile you want.

Let’s start with the heat. I always take a look at who is going to be eating the chIII, if you have a variety of heat tolerances at your table, make the chili for the lowest level desired and then use sides that people can individually add; such as slice jalapeños, hot sauces, and chili powders. This let's everyone create their perfect spice level. You can also use a plant based sour cream or cashew cream to allow people to tone down the spice if it is too hot or add some creaminess.

There are so many different kinds of fresh chilis and dried chilies - by combining sevreal together, you can do what is called layering. Here is a fun way to explore this idea. If you have several different chili powders, put a little of each in separate bowls. First, taste just a little of each and see when you feel the heat and where you feel the heat on your tongue. Write down notes and find a couple that you like that are different and then try combining them. You can use a little side of rice to sprinkle a mixture on and see what proportions work best. I love to combine plain chili powder with chipotle chili powder. And I always put some fire roasted chilis. Next you can play with adding some oregano, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder to you mix if any of these sound good. Once again, find portions that fit your palette.

You can create more depth to your chili by adding a little cocoa or cacao powder.

So just experiment with the spices and enjoy!

What Texture Do You Like?

Some of us like our chili chunky and some like it a little thicker and smooth and some like it in between. Once you have the chili flavor that you want you can use an immersion blender or counter top blender to change the texture.

First a warning, your chili might be hot and you need to consider what is going to happen when you use both types of blender, but especially the counter top blender. The expansion of the heat can cause the top to fly off and hot chili everywhere. So if you are using a countertop blender, either let the chili cook first or only fill the blender no more than 1/3 full and use a towel and your hand to hold the top on - only use low speed or be patient and let it cool down before blending.

So here is the technique that I like. If you are using the immersion blender, put it in the pot and just blend till you have the texture that you desire. If you are using a counter blender, remove about 2 cups of chili and blend on low speed for just a few seconds, with a towel and your hand holding the top down. Add it back to the pot and see how you like the texture. You can play with how much and how long. I love the blender technique since it give you a variety of textures very easily. So experiment safely and enjoy.

Ready to Serve the Chili

There are so many to serve chili. Here are some meal possibilities:

- Chili with Cornbread

- Chili over Rice

- Chili over Baked Potato

- Chili over Sweet Potato

- Chili over Greens

- Chili Fries

- Chili Nachos

- Chili and Macaroni

- Chili Sloppy Joes

Freezing Chili

Chili freezes wonderfully, so if there is any left, you might want to consider freezing it. This is one of my favorite ways to batch cook, I prepare more than I will eat in a meal and freeze the rest in 1 to 2 cup blocks. Below is a picture of a freezer cube, each side holds up to 2 cups and even has a 1 cup marking on the side. I will freeze up the extras and put them in a bag in the freezer. Then, when I am ready for some more chili or last minute visitors show up, I just put a block or two in the pan and heat it up. Just love these freezer cube. You can find them on Amazon.

Leslie’s Favorite Chili ★★★★★ Mexican, Soup Ingredients 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 large red bell pepper, chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped ¼ cup green chili, chopped ½ teaspoon salt 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoons chili powder ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2 teaspoon cocoa powder 1 cup frozen corn 1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes,with their juices 3 cups or 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained 1 ½ cup or 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained 2 cups vegetable broth Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, plant based sour cream, chopped green onion Directions: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, dry sauté the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Add a little vegetable broth to prevent sticking, if necessary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Let cool, the put half of the chili and blend, you still want it to be chunky. Add back to the pot and reheat. It's now ready to serve and it's nice and thick. I actually like this chili better the second day and it freezes great.



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