For me, any time of year is a good time for soups and stews. I’ve never participated in a chili cook-off to bring my own for competition, but I’ve certainly stood in as a willing judge. I love chili.
It’s taken me years to get a chili recipe just right and what I discovered is I needn’t follow someone else’s recipe. You know me—I cook by-guess-and-by-golly. So here’s how I make my chili. Sort of. The amounts of some of these ingredients will vary, depending on what I have on hand.
Chili, Sort Of
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 2 cans pinto beans
- 1 large can tomato paste
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef, cooked and drained
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1-2 t. chopped jalapenos
- 1 T. chili powder
- Tomato juice (optional)
Drain and rinse all the beans. Place all ingredients except jalapenos into a large slow cooker. If chili seems too thick, add tomato juice until it’s the desired consistency. Cook on high until chili comes to a slow boil. Stir once or twice to prevent sticking. Turn heat to low setting and add jalapenos. Cook for at least 3 hours until flavors are mixed.
Obviously, the by-guess-and-by-golly is a good idea for making chili. At least in my (cook)book.
I prefer to use dried beans. That way I know what I’m getting. If you do too, you have to make your measurements of the beans according to how much chili you want. I use a cup each of the beans, a little more for the pintos since I like them best for chili. I’ve found black beans take a little longer to become soft compared to pintos and kidneys.
Also, I process garden tomatoes and make my own tomato puree. I use this instead of juice to thin the mixture. In fact, I save the water from the blanching process and can it to use in soup stocks. Rarely does anything go to waste in my kitchen.
Along with chili, I like the cornbread as a side dish. This recipe for Cheesy Cornbread is from a friend who goes by Annie Mae. Since she wasn’t stingy in sharing it with me, I’ll share this one too.
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
- 1 stick butter or margarine, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 c. sour cream
- 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, mix the egg, both cans of corn, Jiffy cornbread mix, butter, and sour cream. Pour into a large casserole or 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread shredded cheese evenly on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Again, I alter the recipe slightly, but only so far as I use my own homemade cornbread mix. In that case, the equivalent to a box of Jiffy mix is about 1 ¼ cups of homemade mix.