For February’s Cucina Fresca, we decided to venture into the world of chili. You may recall when we made the Pioneer Woman’s chili. That chili was delicious, but it was too spicy for even Corelyn. We also felt it was perhaps lacking in the vegetable we loved so much. So we adapted Ree’s recipe along with Linda’s to make a veggie rich recipe that would be a good level of spice for me and would have a hearty amount of meat to make it a complete meal.
We came up with a recipe that covered two of our original goals:
- Make vitamin balanced meals – at least 3 colors per meal
- Create a couple of basic soups (or stews, etc.)
In the end, the chili was the perfect balance of vegetables, meat, and liquid. It crossed five colors: yellow (corn), green (pepper), red (tomato), brown (meat), and white (onion.) We also used a variety of spices (chili powder and cumin) to try our hand at adding things we wouldn’t normally think of. Here are some highlight photos.
Take some delicious tomatoes and blend them up. We ended up using five. You set them aside for the time being.
Please note the coffee in the photo. We usually start off (and end) all cooking days with a giant cup of coffee.
Meanwhile you chop some stuff. We opted for green pepper, garlic, and onion. Chop ’em up, put them in some (olive) oil and sauté them. Give them a few minutes before you add the beef. We used a pound of beef, but you could use ground turkey if you don’t like beef.
You probably want to use a dutch oven, if you have one, because they hold so much, and they clean really well.
Let that cook until the beef is mostly cooked.
At this point, you dish should like something like this. Mmm, good.
Go ahead and add some roughly chopped tomatoes. We used two.
You can add two cans of pinto beans at this point, too, or any kind of beans that tickle your fancy.
Add a can of tomato paste, and stir in your spices: salt and pepper to taste, as well as 2 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder and a heaping tablespoon of cumin. Mix it all in. Now, my friends, add your blended tomatoes. And add 12 ounces of frozen corn. And stir. Delicious. You can also at this point add a can of green chilis, if you’d like. We did.
Now you’re going to have a hands-off hour. You can spend that time watching an episode of Lost or the West Wing, cleaning the mess you just made, or making corn muffins. Your choice.
It’ll look like this about half way through. You’ll be so happy and excited you might put on a little James Taylor to celebrate, or you might hug whatever friend happens to be in your kitchen.
By the end, you’ll be so happy you’ll even smile whilst stirring.
Ahh, chili. Simple, 5-color chili.