Red Hot Chili Peppers

This was going to be a post with the "good" version of yesterday's picture in it, but instead I am going to give you a "toddler-approved" recipe for chili that will help you clean out your cupboards and possibly make you or someone you love turn into some sort of demon. An adorable demon, but a demon nonetheless.

Disclaimer: this is "gringa" chili, and it's also very weak. Even I think it's wimpy, and I hate food that is very spicy. But this was done intentionally, so that we could share this with Cupcake. As she gets older we will gradually increase the heat and spices. In the meantime, you can call this a "chili bean stew" or something like that if it makes you feel better. Or if you are from Texas. Anyway -- there are a lot of ingredients in this, but getting everything together is really the hardest part.

  • 1½ cups dried red kidney beans (or canned equivalent)
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans (or canned equivalent)
  • ½ cup dried pink beans (or canned equivalent)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion (Vidalia or similar), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minded (or equivalent)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • chili powder, to taste (about ½ teaspoon)
  • oregano, to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
  • cinnamon, to taste (about ½ teaspoon) -- optional
  • 1 can (10½ ounces) Ro*Tel Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • low sodium V-8 or tomato juice, as needed (approx. 4 cups)
  • low sodium chicken broth or water, as needed (approx. 4 cups)
  • 1 small can (8 ounces) no salt added whole kernel corn (or frozen equivalent), drained
If using dried beans, sort and rinse beans. Place in a large stockpot and cover with 8 cups of hot water. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn burner off. Let beans sit, covered, for at least an hour or until mostly softened. Drain, rinse, and set aside. (If using canned beans, just drain, rinse, and set aside. In either case, you should have approximately 6 cups of beans or so.)

When beans are prepared, combine bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ground beef in a large stockpot. Add a small amount of olive oil, if desired, for browning. Add about half of the chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon. Set the rest of the seasonings aside for taste adjustment later. Cook over high heat until meat is browned and vegetables are soft.

Add both cans of tomatoes and juice and heat to boiling. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add beans and stir well to combine. Heat to boiling. Add 2 cups of V-8 or tomato juice and 2 cups of broth or water. Make sure that beans are completely covered with liquid. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and checking liquid levels. Add V-8 and broth (½ cup each at a time) as necessary.

Check doneness of beans and consistency of "broth." Adjust seasonings if necessary. If beans require additional cooking, add additional liquid as needed. If beans are done enough, then reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until desired consistency. Total simmer time should not be more than 2-2½ hours. Just before serving, add corn. Stir to heat through, and serve with shredded cheddar cheese and dollops of sour cream, if desired.


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