Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is not dessert.

   Today I was hungry. And I was also feeling like it was a fall sort of day. Every fall it somehow becomes imperative to make comfort foods. So what if it's still too warm for soup? Last week I made alphabet soup which we ate for days. This afternoon I realized I had everything I needed to make some of my awesome chili, except beef. Usually I would use steak or even ground beef, but it's so expensive here that we don't buy it often anymore. We live on chicken. Meaning the only meat I had handy was, well... chicken.
   Still! You can't keep a good woman down! I pulled out some dried beans and got them soaking, and boiled them for a good 3 hours. Gotta get them puppies tender before you add the stuff to the chili, because the beans take at least eight times as long to cook if there's anything in the water other than salt.
   Towards the end I made a mighty error in judgement. I am a pussy. I apologize for the language, but when it comes to spicy food, I'm easily the biggest baby. There is a reason for this, but no one seems to gather that maybe I'm not just a girl about hot food. It literally burns me. So when it came time to chop things for the chili, I had the dilemma of how hot to make it. I figured one jalapeno in the pot would be good enough, and without thinking, I started chopping it and removing the pips. I cut it up nice and small in about 30 seconds flat, and then moved onto the garlic and onions. Halfway through the onion I started to feel the burn. I looked down, and my fingers were ON. FIRE.
   They were bright red, the skin was peeling away, they were swollen and glossy and they hurt so bad I wanted to cry! They still burn, hours later. I did everything I could think of to stop the burn, but even after the capsaicin was off my hands, the nerves were still fried. It feels a lot like a bad steam burn now, and the raw skin from where the top peeled away is hyper-sensitive.
   The whole time I was cooking, any time I got near heat my fingers screamed at me. I'm a complete dolt.
   Anyway, when I say this chili is good enough to suffer minor chemical burns for, I mean it. It's that kind of comfort food. I'm not saying be an idiot and hurt yourself, but I AM saying that next time I'll have Brandon chop the jalapenos, and that this time, it was worth it because this chili is damn good, and super good for us. It's going to be tasty on chili dogs for Cooper's playdate Friday. This recipe was made in my mini crockpot, which serves 4-6 hearty bowls.

Burning Love Chili

1 1/2 cup dried beans, soaked for at least 2 hours, I used pinto, but really, use what you want or have on hand. Chili isn't picky.
6 cups water
3 Tablespoons salt
1 whole yellow onion
1 or 2 jalapenos for desired heat
4 cloves garlic
2 small chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
powdered chipotle
smoked paprika
lemon pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 cup frozen corn

Cook the beans on high in the crockpot for about 3 hours with the 6 cups water and 3 T salt. They should be boiling the majority of the time.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and get out a small baking dish for the chicken. Coat the chicken heavily in chipotle, paprika, salt, and lemon pepper, and roast for 15-20 minutes. Let cool and dice or shred.

Chop onion, remove pips and mince jalapeno and garlic, and cook all in small amount of oil over med-low heat with a pinch of salt until soft and onions are caramelized.

Once beans are done, mix the tomato sauce and corn starch in a mug, and then pour mixture into beans and remaining water. Add cumin, oregano, black pepper, onion mixture, chicken, corn, and chopped cilantro to taste. Let cook for an hour on high until nice and thick.

The chili will thicken substantially as it cools and any leftovers will thicken even more over night. I actually like chili better the second day.

Serve with cornbread, rice, crispy tortillas, nachos, or over cheesy hot dogs. Really just do what you want with it. Chili is magic because it's good with so many things.


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