Monday, February 6, 2012

The Chilinator

I grew up in southern California around lots of Mexican and Latino folks. I had my fair share, and then some, of Mexican foods. Did you know there are three basic food groups in Mexican cuisine? Corn, Chili Peppers and Beans. If it doesn't have those, it's not Mexican food. So naturally when I moved out of California I had a hard time adjusting to what the rest of the country perceives as Mexican food. Especially Chili.

Some people argue that chili isn't Mexican food. Bullhonkery! Chili, as most people know it, has just been Americanized so that it's barely a shadow of what it used to be. Trust me, if you want some real, true roots, chili, you need to try this recipe.

The focus of flavor in this recipe is in the chilies. That's why it's called chili after all. Not this blended meat and tomato soup that you threw some hot sauce into. Bleh. You'll never go back to that again after eating this explosion of flavor. The great thing about chilies is there are all different kinds so you can make this hot and spicy or mild and succulent.

And don't tell anyone but...



This chili has no meat. *GASP!*

Meat is expensive. And honestly, most Mexican families would much rather have a milk cow or goats and sheep that are alive and productive. Not just butchered for food. For much of the world, meat is a flavoring ingredient, not the main course as it traditionally is here in America. You can certainly add ground beef or chicken to this recipe if you so desire it but trust me, it doesn't need it. (I have nothing against meat. I'm no vegan. I love a good steak now and then.)

Instead we have beans. Two kinds here. The traditional Red Kidney Bean and a couple cans of chickpeas. You want chili to have good texture as well as flavor. That's part of the reason people started adding meat to chili in ye olden days (called Chili con Carne for a reason after that. Chilies with meat!). To keep it meatless but still get that fabulous texture we pulse the chickpeas in a blender until it's coarsely chopped. After cooking for a couple hours in the deliciousness that is real, whole, chilies, you won't notice the missing meat at all.

By the way, big thanks to my brother for deciding the name of this chili. It was so delicious, so epic, so legendary that I couldn't think of a name. My mind was thoroughly blown after tasting it and it wasn't coming back. Unlike this chili, which now has a tag line "I'll be back." *ba-dum ching!*

The Chilinator

6 Servings | Prep Time: 30 Min ; Total Time: 2.5 hours | Journeyman

  • 9 Dried New Mexico Chilies
  • 1 Vegetable or Beef Bullion Cube
  • 2 can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 2 can Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbl Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbl Cumin
  • 1 Tbl Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 Tbl Corn Meal or Masa

Craft: Remove the stems from the chilies (and seeds if you don't want your chili spicy at all). Combine all chilies in a medium saucepan with water and bullion. Simmer over medium high heat until chilies are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving water separately. Transfer chilies to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add chickpeas to the blender and pulse until roughly chopped. Put the chickpeas with the chilies. Blend the diced tomatoes and add to the chilies and chickpeas. Heat oil/butter in a pot or dutch oven. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent. Add garlic, cumin and oregano then cook 1 minute more. Add all ingredients to the pot, including reserved liquids and excepting the masa/corn meal. Mix well. Add more water if needed to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more liquid as needed to prevent sticking. Add masa/cornmeal and mix well. Cook 5 minutes more to thicken.

Strategies: To get different flavors and temperatures try different chilies or combinations of different chilies.

LFM: Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, chopped green onions, avocado, lime wedges or tortilla chips. Serve ice cream for dessert to cool off!

  • New Mexico Chilies | $6.00
  • Red Kidney Beans | $1.00
  • Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans |$1.00
  • Diced Tomatoes | $0.50
  • Onion | $0.50
Total Cost: $9.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Hardcore, Critical Hits, LFG

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

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