Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jones Chili

Jones Chili is also known in my house as The Cheapest, Easiest, and Healthiest Thing I Have Ever Cooked That Also Tastes Delicious, but that title is a bit verbose and won't fit up on top of this post.

Cassandra made this for me once in college in her boyfriend's grungy kitchen in a crappy white house on Fifth Avenue. If I remember correctly, it was something her mom made for her when she became a vegetarian. I love this recipe and I make it at least twice each winter.

If you can use a can opener, you can make this awesome huge pot of chili. At the core of the recipe is simply a bunch of canned goods. Even though I was told there would be no math in this blog, I think this formula is simple enough to remember - 5 cans or pints beans, 2 cans tomatoes, 1 jar salsa (as hot as you can stand).

Warm it all up together and PRESTO, you have an awesome bowl of chili. Technically, I guess you should probably throw some chili powder in there too. But the best part is that your salsa has all the spices and flavors you need to season the whole pot. If I forgot anything or got the formula wrong, I hope I get corrected in the comments.

There are also lots of other ways to make your chili more complicated (if you're like me and want to spend a few minutes chopping and stirring instead of just opening cans). I like to add onions, carrots, garlic, corn, green chiles, and sometimes bell peppers too. I also like to add some type of whole grain to my chili to help soak up some of the liquid and make it taste a bit heartier (brown rice, wheatberries, quinoa, or oat groats).

Leftovers are so versatile...I love eating them with tortilla chips for chili cheese nachos, with eggs, or even wrapped up in a tortilla. And bonus - leftovers freeze great.

Basic Jones Chili
5 cans of beans, plus liquid (my fave combo for taste and color is 2 cans spicy chili beans, 1 can black, 1 can garbazno, 1 can dark red kidney)
2 cans diced tomatoes (I like the fire roasted flavor)
1 jar salsa (I used homemade super spicy roasted salsa)

Heat all ingredients together in a big pot with 1 Tbsp chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Fancy Jones Chili
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (any color)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 bottle beer (I used Fat Tire)
5 cans beans, plus liquid (see note above for my fave combo)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 jar salsa
1 can shoepeg corn
1 can green chiles
1/2 cup brown rice, quinoa, wheatberries, or oat groats

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Add chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until veggies are soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Add beer and deglaze bottom of pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until beer has reduced by half. Add beans with their liquid, tomatoes, salsa, corn, chiles, and your grain of choice. Simmer 30-40 minutes to let flavors meld and serve when your grain is fully cooked.

ONE YEAR AGO: White Salad

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