Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chili recipe (finally)

The leaves are starting to fall, and soon they will start changing colors. The air is starting to have that really nice chill, and the hint of woodsmoke is in the air. Saturdays are spent drinking copious amounts of beer and watching college football, wondering if being an LSU fan is really worth the ulcer it's giving me. It's fall; it's time for chili.

I've had a few requests to put my recipe for chili up here. I also need to make an entry since apparently I am the only author for what is already a half assed blog. [/passive aggressive jab at the other authors] I should really put more recipes here anyway, as cooking is something I love. The problem with me giving recipes though, as I have expressed before, is that it's hard to convey exactly what I do! I usually just make stuff, and I've been making this chili for a long time (12 years at least), and in that time I have tweaked and altered things, and what you read here is the product of over a decade of tweaking, altering, experimenting and learning. While making chili the past couple of times I have measured stuff out, and made a point to remember how much of everything I use. As far as I know this is the first time that I have actually written this down.

What you need:
  • Two medium onions, diced
  • One large green bell pepper, diced
  • One head (that's right, a whole head) of garlic, minced
  • 12 oz of mushrooms, diced
  • Several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes, however much you think you can handle
  • Chili powder, 5-6 tablespoons
  • Brown sugar, 4 tablespoons
  • Salt, not too much (you can always add salt; you can't take it out)
  • Large can of crushed tomatoes
  • Large can of diced tomatoes
  • Three cans of beans (I used one each of black, red and navy)
  • A beer

Get a nice sturdy pot and heat up enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Use a medium-high heat. Saute the onions and bell pepper together with the red pepper flakes (yes, right at the beginning) for a few minutes until the onion starts to get a little translucent. Then add the garlic; you don't add it at the start because you don't want it to burn. After another couple of minutes throw in your mushrooms.

When the mushrooms are completely moist deglaze with the beer. Just pour it all in there. Add the dry ingredients, stir well, and bring the whole thing to a boil. Let it boil for a minute or two. Stir to make sure nothing sticks.

Add tomatoes and beans. If you prefer you can cook your own beans beforehand and use them instead. If you do I will need to add a couple of cups of water too though. Bring it up to a boil and then put the heat on medium low, or whatever setting you need to use to make it simmer. (Different stoves behave differently.)

Now this is going to take a while. I mean like three hours or so, enough time to let the chemical composition of the tomatoes change. If you have tasted the chili before that point, it won't be that good. It won't taste bad, but it won't taste anything like it will after it's cooked for a few hours. While it simmers you are going to need to give this a stir every 15 minutes or so, or stuff will stick to the bottom and burn. If you feel a little sticking to the bottom of the pan, no big deal. Just do your best to use your stirring utensil of choice to scrape the bottom.

You probably won't need to, but if you think it's getting too thick you can add some water. Don't add any more than a cup at a time, as you don't want to cool it down too much, and also don't want it to get too watery.

When it's cooked a while you can taste it and see if it needs anything. (All chili powders are not created equal; sometimes I need to add a little more.)

Okay, this is my chili. It's good. You should make it.


  1. Mmm, I always need new veggie chili recipes. This one sounds good! What beer do you usually use? Does the proper beer make it or break it? :-)

  2. I just use a good quality beer. My beer of choice is Schafly Oatmeal Stout, which I think is the best overall cooking beer I've ever used. I tend not to use super hoppy beers (like IPAs or Schlafly's APA) -- those are for drinkin'!