Greetings from California, DW circle! It is finally raining a tiny bit here, and serendipitously I was making thingswithwings
' excellent chili
this morning, and it feels much more appropriate than it would have felt on a new-normal, plague of sunshine day. t'wings' chili has become my go-to chili recipe, and I wanted to share the steps that I go through when I make it, because a) more people should know about this chili; b) I am sure that t'wings is a much better improvisational cook than I am, and I wanted to write down what I do so that I won't forget it; and c) as a gesture of appreciation for thingswithwings
, who has brought much fannish joy to my life in many ways and whose post on food and cooking
is a wonderful read.Notes on ingredients
- Canned tomatoes: The one thing I splurge on when buying canned goods is tomatoes; I really like Muir Glen, though I know other people swear by the very pricey San Marzano. Regardless, I recommend that one of your large cans of tomatoes be fire-roasted. Nom.
- Corn: I often buy canned because it's right there on the shelf when I'm loading up on the beans and tomatoes, and I haven't noticed a taste difference (today I raided the freezer and chucked in the sad remnants of a bag of frozen corn, noms). The first time I made the chili I thought it was too sweet, but I think that was a problem with my method. I would recommend at least half a bag of frozen or two cans.
- Spices: The second time I made this chili I also added smoked paprika and it was almost too spicy, even for me. Today I added two teaspoons cayenne and three heaping teaspoons cumin, total (all the cumin we had, actually), and it is still quite spicy, but also delicious.
- I use two large onions, two medium zucchini, and two green peppers.
- I omit the "textured vegetable protein" because I don't really care for seitan or similar and the beans are quite enough protein for my tastes.
- Beer: You do really want a good dark beer, something like a dark ale, or today I used a Full Sail bock that was very tasty. Nom. I just use a whole bottle, minus a swig for me.
- If you like a good strong smoky chili, you can also follow the advice of the Homesick Texan
and pour in cold coffee that you have lying around, up to about half a cup.
- Pepper: I use a habañero, because it is the smallest and fruitiest pepper my grocery store stocks.Notes on cooking
- Chop the onions and garlic first, and let them cook for 10 minutes while you chop the zucchini and peppers.
- Throw the zucchini and peppers in along with the spices when you're finished chopping or ten minutes are up, whichever comes first.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, then add the beer, using your spoon or whatever to scrape up any sticky bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Cook about three to five minutes, then add the beans (drained and rinsed, except for the black beans, only drain those) and the tomatoes. I add about a large can of water by rinsing the tomato cans and pouring that water into the chili.
- Cook about half an hour, then add the ingredients in step two.
- Cook about half an hour, then de-seed the pepper of most of its ribs and veins (where most of the spice is) and cut into two to four chunks. Chuck those in and cook fifteen minutes to half an hour, removing the chunks when you feel like/when the pepper has gone limp and mushy and kind of pale.
- One of my good friends in grad school is a Texan in exile, and from her and the Homesick Texan I learned the most important rule of chili: it's done when you can stick your cooking spoon in it and it stands straight up. Notes on serving
- I like cornbread with chili, and I always forget to buy the Jiffy mixes which are what I will always think of as cornbread, so I make this recipe
instead. NB: As written it is way, way too sweet for me. I use a slightly rounded 1/3 cup of sugar and that is just about right. Also, I never have buttermilk lying around, but it works great with fake homemade buttermilk
- Another way to cut the spiciness a bit is sour cream or creme fraiche, which is what I used today because I had some lying around. The full fat adds a nice silkiness to the texture. Nomz.
- Also grated sharp Wisconsin cheddar on top = nomz.
- If you have a lime lying around and you feel like brightening it up, you can squeeze a lime wedge on top.
DEVOUR. Thank you for sharing this recipe, t'wings!