Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Southwestern Food Fix

As I attempt to piece together more stories to regale you about the Southwest, I'll start you off with a pretty South-Westerly recipe, perfect for the cold winter nights we all seem to be having right now... I might be in the desert, but it's freaking COLD! Snowed overnight and for most of the day... but it's peaceful and very festive.

This recipe is pretty darn easy, a lot of the stuff comes from cans, can be made veggie or meaty in a million different varieties. How American eh? If you're a wannabe foodie like me, you'll go all organic and as local as possible - it's pretty easy with this one. However, I warn you, I'm not sure where you can get the mild chili powder outside the States- Erg. Onwards.

Hearty Homemade Chili to ward off the chill.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
500 grams (1lb) ground beef, turkey or quorn
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder – the American non-hot stuff as illustrated above
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce or hot chili powder
1 teaspoon salt or Creole salt seasoning
1 medium red or green pepper, chopped
Any other favorite vegetable, it could be chopped carrots, corn, broccoli or all of the above…
Feel free to add any other seasoning you like such as parsley, basil etc.

The best thing about cooking yourself? You get to do it exactly how YOU want to... so please, add & subtract ingredients however you like.

In a big aul pot, heat up the garlic in the olive oil, without letting it get too brown and add the onions until they’re nice & sweaty. Throw in the meat getting it nice & browned. Drain off any excess water or fat from the cooked meat.

Throw the canned ingredients in the pot with the meat mixing them together well. Add the remaining ingredients – and as I always say, do not hesitate to taste, making it as spicy, salty or mild as you like.

It should be a thick liquidy consistency – the tomatoes making up the majority of the liquid – if it’s a bit too thick or dry you can add a little bit of water, but don’t add too much, making sure the flavor remains full of your seasonings.

Leave the pot on for a while at a low simmer with the lid on, around 30 minutes, to ensure your veggies are cooked through. Since it’s chili, feel free to cook it even longer – as long as it’s a low heat and the lid is on it shouldn’t burn or lose any moisture – it’s one of those dishes that sometimes is better the longer it’s left on as it has more time to get the flavors going.

I like serving it up on tortillas with some grated cheddar, but in a bowl on its own is still delish, and it’s also good over rice. This also freezes & re-heats really well so you can make tons of it to re-heat later on.

YUM & pretty darn healthy.

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