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Let’s just get the obvious out of the way. Chili? In Paradise? Yes, I live on a tropical island. I think I’ve gotten quite good at island living in fact. I don’t wear shoes that can’t be classified as rubbah slippahs, I gladly take tourists’ photos in front of <<insert unphoto worthy item here>> and I don’t mind the 15 pounds of sand wedged in the crevices of my car that I’ll never get out. Sometimes though, I miss nights cold enough for fleece and chili. Like tonight. So I pulled out the dutch oven and got to work.

I’ve been making this since college, when I was still using my mom’s brown crock pot from the ’70s. Back then I couldn’t even afford to put meat in my chili. Now that I’ve gone and married myself an officer in the United States Air Force, I’ve got meat in my chili. Movin on up! This is a really simple recipe you can make on the stove top or in a crock pot. It can be vegetarian or not.

Jenn’s Chili

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 1 lbs ground beef or turkey, browned and drained)
  • 2 cans chili beans (any brand and heat level)
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can salt free or low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper and chili powder

Preheat oven to 425. On a sheet pan lined with foil, season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and tabasco sauce. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Meanwhile, add one tablespoon olive oil to your dutch oven or similar pot (if making in crockpot, use a skillet). Heat oil over medium heat and saute onions, green pepper and jalapeno until just softened. While veggies soften, empty black beans into a large colander, rinse and drain. Add tomatoes to colander and drain (don’t rinse). Once onions and peppers are softened, add  drained beans, tomatoes and both cans of chili beans either to your dutch oven. When chicken is cooked, dice or shred, add to pot. Bring pot to a simmer, then turn heat down and simmer lightly for at least 30 minutes. Before serving season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Note: if you are serving to a crowd or anyone under the age of 18 or over 55, people you’ve never met, your boss or a new love interest, leave the seasoning to them. Lightly season whole pot with salt, pepper and a dash of chili powder, leave the Tabasco out and offer as a condiment.  Serve hot.

If making in crockpot, transfer all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Season before serving.

Chili note #1: This chili can be completely vegetarian. Add one more pepper (try one red and one green if you can afford red peppers) and one cup of corn (fresh, frozen or canned)

Chili note # 2: Suggested Garnishes include: cheese (lots of it), Fritos, tortilla chips, diced onions, cilantro, sour cream, saltines. Can also be served over rice, Hawaiian style.

Everybody in the pot!

Yes, I’d like some chili with my cheese.

Even Grace will eat it. So you know it’s good.

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