Pat Deuson is a fellow Echelon Press author. Her new book is SUPERIOR LONGING, about which more later. Tell us what you mean by “Approximate Chili”, Pat.
One of the great things about chili, besides taste and goodness, is that anyone can make it, and they can make it anyway they want. When I make chili I use every kind of bean I can find, and I use canned because really, why not? I’m especially fond of ceci, aka garbanzo or chick-peas [have you ever tried chickpea flour?] and then use every other kind of red, white, pink, speckled, or black bean around. While not a natural vegetarian, I prefer chili without any animal protein.
Since chili making isn’t an exact science, you might do something like this:
In a large pot sauté up a lot of diced white onion, a large amount of diced pepper – red, green, or yellow – with a goodly amount of crushed garlic in olive oil. When softened – and remember this won’t need to cook for all that long if you’ve used canned beans – add a large can of whole tomatoes that you’ve squished by hand and the can juices. If you like more tomatoey goodness, add some tomato sauce as well.
Now flavoring. I use chili powders [NM chili powder, CA chili powder, mysterious and unknown chili powder, paprika, regular and smoked, & cayenne] with a dash of pepper flakes for more heat, and spices: cumin, cloves, cinnamon, salt, sometimes coriander and sweeteners: a dollop of molasses and a sprinkle of dark brown sugar. Sometimes I use ketchup [ketchup was once a spicy ‘Asian’ sauce, and if you haven’t made your own (which you should immediately hide) it is a revelation] but I always use a bottle of beer – a fairly light beer. Give this a stir and add your choice of beans. Stir again, gently. If more liquid is needed I always add more beer, but water would do.
Turn the heat to medium low under the pot, and let the chili slowly raise to a simmer. Keep an eye on it and do stir from time to time and add more liquid if needed. Chili is fairly resistant to mishandling, but nothing tastes better for being scorched to the bottom of a pot. Stop cooking when it’s as thick as you want, and remember it will thicken as it cools. Like stew, chili is better the next day. And the day after that!
Chili is a meal, a side dish, a soup [more beer? broth? tomato juice? water?] and a life saver from the freezer, because another great thing about chili is that it freezes well.
This recipe was brought to you by the folks at Cooks Inn Cooking School, whose further adventures [some of which lead to murder] can be found in SUPERIOR LONGING, the first Neva Moore mystery, written by Patricia Deuson, published by Echelon Press and available from 9/15/11 until the end of time in most fine ebook formats such as Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and Omnilit and maybe others no one told me about. SUPERIOR LONGING has its own blog and Facebook page as well. Go visit them!
Yeah, that’s the kind of recipe I like. 🙂
Meanwhile, I’ll be guesting on Sylvia Dickey Smith’s Blog Talk Radio half-hour interview show. Here is the link: Writing Strong Women. The show is live at 1:00pm CDT. If you can’t listen live, please pop in and listen to the archived show.
WRITING PROMPT: Pick any three characters, of your own or someone else’s. As a thought experiment, how would they make chili if they were tasked to do so?