Chili recipe – winter 2011/2012

And now for something completely spicy:

I haven’t changed my chili recipe all that much since last year’s decision to cut down on the many, many kinds of spices. (I used to use chili powder, paprika, black and red pepper, and often most of my spice drawer.) Since I knew I wouldn’t have much to write about this year, I decided to document my first batch of the season with the camera. The recipe is the same, although I used different brands of canned tomato sauce and beans–which does change the flavor a little.

As always, you only get good chili when you have good ingredients. Here’s what I used this time:

I’m a big fan of slicing stuff up ahead of time into bowls or onto plates, but since I was in a bit of a rush, I started slicing and cooking the onions and garlic, and then the soy “meat”, before getting the peppers ready.

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(Click on the photo to open it in Flickr, where there are notes about each ingredient.)

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After I put the tomato sauce and beans into the pot over a medium flame to simmer, I salted the fake meat, something I don’t normally do. I think it adds a nice flavor to the chili, making the soy a little more meat-like.

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If you’ve ever rubbed your eyes with habanero juice still under your fingernails, you know exactly why habaneros are to be respected. I go through a lot of disposable rubber gloves when making chili. I treat anything that’s come in contact with the hot peppers–cutting boards, knives–as “contaminated”, which means I won’t touch them with my bare hands until they’ve been thoroughly washed.

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The chili came out more strongly flavored, not quite as spicy, and a little watery this year. That last may be due to the small tube of tomato paste I used instead of the usual canned paste. I’ll switch back for the next batch–and there will almost certainly be another soon, and then another. It’s nearly winter, after all.

Maybe it’s also time for chocolate chip cookies.


Neil Fein is a freelance editor. He’s also a musician for the band Baroque & Hungry, he rides a mean bicycle, and he paints in oils when the mood strikes him.

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3 thoughts on “Chili recipe – winter 2011/2012

  1. Because a wonderful chili restaurant in Raleigh – which is no longer there – used to put chopped peanuts in their vegetarian chili, I do the same thing. I love the crunch it adds, and the flavor blends pleasingly well.

  2. Pingback: Ingredients | Dinner Recipe Ideas

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