rainy day chili cooking

Chili …it’s an American tradition. I’ve had some really great chili in my days and some really bad chili.

This past weekend I had some good and bad chili, sadly. The reason some of the chili wasn’t good is quite simply the chefs did not pay attention to the flavor profiles. Too salty, overly sweet, ingredients that just didn’t work. You can get creative with your chili but you have to stick to the more traditional flavors or it’s really not chili is it? Sorry not sorry but stuff that tastes sweet like sloppy joes isn’t chili in my opinion.

Kielbasa (for example) is a smoked sausage that has the wrong flavor profile for chili. And yes, I am saying that knowing that there are kielbasa chili recipes all over the Internet. Kielbasa was in a chili I tasted this weekend. I threw it out.

If you’re going to use sausage, you need to stick to the right flavor profiles. In my humble opinion that’s a Mexican chorizo. Spanish chorizo is smoked and I think the fresh Mexican version just works better in chili….but I take it out of the sausage casing.

You can also get away with Italian sausage sweet or hot – but you should buy the kind that comes out of the casing in a “brick”. And if you do that I recommend mixing it with ground beef or ground pork.

I make my chili with ground beef and ground pork for the most part. I will also make a ground turkey chili.

The best chili I’ve ever had in my entire life used to be made by one of my childhood friend’s mothers. She was born in West Texas, and her chili hands-down is still the best I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I don’t know anyone that has ever replicated her recipe exactly. I don’t know anyone that actually got it out of her which is a bummer because I keep trying to replicate it decades later.

I don’t really have a recipe for chili per se, it’s more like how I want to make it. Today I’m making it with ground beef.

I also have leftover hatch green chilies from the garden and some jalapeños which have gotten diced up with an impulse buy at Aldi – A bag of mini rainbow peppers which are sweet and a pain in the neck to seed and clean but they look pretty in the pot.

Image result for goya frijoles rojos pequeñosRight now sweating down in the pot are a couple of yellow onions chopped, the jalapeño peppers, the chili peppers, the sweet peppers, three cloves of garlic minced, and something I like adding to it which is lime zest and the juice of two limes. It keeps the vegetables moist while they’re sweating down but not soggy and it adds a flavor profile that I’m fond of. The only seasoning in the pot right now is salt.

When the vegetables are starting to soften and the onion is getting slightly translucent I will add a 2 pound package of ground beef. I like buying high-quality ground beef and you do need a little fat to make a good chili so I think this is 93% lean.

La Costena Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, 7 Oz

After the meat is cooked I will start to add my other ingredients: three cans of beans drained except for the one can of Goya Frijoles Rojos Pequeños. I discovered these by accident and they are kidney beans and a little sauce of olive oil tomato and garlic. I will also add a small can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (10 oz) , a can of tomato purée (28 oz) and part of a small can of chipotle peppers in Adobo minced up. The beans I’m using today or dark red kidney beans and pinto beans.

After everything starts to cook I add my chili powder, cumin and a little of a seasoning I’ve discovered called Tajin. (Around here you can find Tajin at Aldi.)

Next I will add fresh herbs. Today it’s oregano, basil, and cilantro.

Tajin Classic Seasoning with LimeThen I let everything simmer and cook down. As the chili is cooling I taste it to see if it has the right amount of salt. Sometimes I also at this point add a little sweet paprika or fresh ground pepper.

I allow my chili to cool and I put it in the refrigerator for a couple of days before eating it. Sometimes I serve it fresh when I make it but with chili I like to let the flavors meld. The only problem with doing it this way is I may have to adjust the spiciness of the chili because when things get cold they get less spicy I’ve discovered,

I like to serve my chili with either a shredded Mexican cheese blend (no additional spices, just cheese) or crumbled queso fresco. You can find me and more of my cooking on the closed Facebook group called Chester County Ramblings Home Cooking Group.

rainy day chili


One of the ladies in my cooking group asked for my rainy day chili recipe, so here it is:


Brown 1 lb ground pork and 1 lb ground beef with 6 cloves of garlic diced and 1 sweet onion and 1 red onion chopped.   Salt to taste.


To that add 4 grated carrots (medium carrots), and 1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes (red bliss or Yukon gold).


Add one package frozen corn (no sauce kind – just the corn).


If I have green or red bell pepper I will chop up one of those too.


Add 3 Tablespoons Chili Powder (I use hot), 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Smoked Hot Paprika, 1 teaspoon bittersweet paprika. A few dashes of cumin.


Then add ¼ cup chopped fresh Cilantro and 1 Tablespoon dried oregano


Add one 40.5 ounce can of dark red kidney beans (or white cannellini beans which my grocery store has been out of)


Add one 28 ounce can of crush red tomatoes.


Add one 28 ounce can of tomato puree.


Add a few dashes of chipotle Tabasco sauce or a good Mexican hot sauce.


Bring to a slow boil over medium low heat and reduce to low/ simmer and cook the chili for a few hours until cooked down a bit (makes it thicker).


Simmer with a splatter screen on unless you want your kitchen to wear chili.


Adjust for seasoning here and there.  Chili cooked a day ahead and reheated is even better because spices have a chance to settle in.


chorizo black bean chili

2 – 1 pound packages of chorizo sausage sliced into bite-size pieces
1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 – 14 1/2 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 – 1 lb. 13 oz. can of goya black beans (drained)
One large red onion and one small white onion
Six cloves of garlic
One cup of Ricatito cilantro cooking base
Goya adobo or salt and pepper to taste
Three carrots sliced or diced small
Three medium size potatoes sliced or diced small
6 ounces of frozen corn kernels 
One cup roasted red peppers (drained and cut into uniform pieces – not too small or it will disintegrate. If I don’t have time to make fresh roasted peppers I will buy roasted bell pepper strips “deli sliced”)
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 teaspoons Mexican style chili powder
3 teaspoons dark chili powder (I have to get this via mail order from Whole Spice )
You want a large Dutch oven for this or pasta sauce pot – which in my house are basically one and the same. I use a stainless steel pot for this because black beans can stain enamelware.
Start by browning your sausage in a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil,and then add onion and garlic . 
When onion and garlic is starting to turn translucent add potatoes and carrots.
Add the black beans followed by the crushed tomatoes and Ricatito
Add spices, and tomato paste. Allow to cook for about an hour on a very low flame and then toss in  frozen corn kernels and roasted red pepper strips.
Allowed to cook down on low lid cracked off with a splatter guard over your pot and then the lid on top of splatter guard. 
After a couple of hours of burbling away on low burner, check your chili for spices and salt and pepper or add Goya adobo. I don’t cook with a lot of added salt because so much of our food has sodium content.
Turn off the stove and let this come to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. The next day skim off any fat that may be on the top and bring to room temperature and heat thoroughly. 
You can serve over rice or just eat plain with a little shredded cheese or even plain Greek  yogurt  or sour cream on top.
You can get a few meals out of this and it freezes well.

yes, it’s chili night

Here I am supposed to be writing an article and what am I doing?  Cooking and writing about cooking.

Well it is chili night, so I thought I would share.  Not bragging, but mine is good.

Chop up a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic.  Cook down a bit in canola or Smart Balance oil is a large pan or a dutch oven. Salt a little bit to taste.  Maybe 3 tablespoons of oil.  Chop up 1 large or two small red sweet peppers and 1 jalapeno (both peppers should be seeded and the jalapeno should be diced.)

Add a dash or two of dried oregano, chili powder (I use Jayshree Seasonings’ chili powder blend – their spices and blends are worth ordering), smoked paprika, regular paprika.

When onion starts to get that translucent look to it, toss in 1 1/2 of high quality ground beef (as in Black Angus, low-fat content – it makes a difference).

When the beef is starting to brown, taste what you have cooked so far and adjust the salt and add a couple more dashes of chili powder.

Add two 15 oz cans of beans (kidney, white, black, whatever – I use whatever I have EXCEPT not chick peas)

Add a can of tomatoes chopped or tomato puree (depending on the packaging approximately 26 oz or so)

Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste.

Stir it altogether, and once again adjust chili powder and salt as necessary (I like spicy chili).

Chop up some fresh basil, oregano, and cilantro. Stir it in.

Adjust flame to simmer and let chili burble away for about an hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to pan.

Serve as you wish.  I like having crumbled queso fresco, additional chopped cilantro, and sour cream handy.

Freeze the leftovers.