By Danielle French

Chili Two Ways

We got tons of compliments on the chili served in mugs on our recent Snow Day in support of Kawartha Heritage Conservancy. Ralph made the vegetarian version (which qualifies as vegan, actually) from a recipe in Cottage Life’s Summer Weekend Cookbook and I made one with meat. I promised the recipes—here they are! Each serves four to six people, depending on how much snowshoeing they’ve been doing.

Black Bean and Vegetable Chili
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, with juice
½ cup bulgur (optional)
2 cans (19 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a very large, heavy pot. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, vegetables, spices and toss over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, and bulgur if using, and gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add beans and about a cup of water. Continue simmering, uncovered, until chili is nicely thickened and well flavoured—about another 30 minutes.

Feel free to include other vegetables in the chili if you like – carrots, celery, green beans, potatoes, blanched cubes of butternut squash, etc. If you have some dry sherry on hand, add a splash or two when you add the beans.

South Pond Chili con Carne
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, chopped coarsely
1 stalk celery, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tbsp Mexican chili powder
1 dried hot chili pepper
2 tablespoons pure cocoa
1 tablespoon molasses
1 796-millilitre/28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 284-millilitre/10-ounce can condensed low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups soaked and cooked dry kidney beans, OR 1 540-millilitre/19-ounce can red kidney beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat in olive oil over medium heat. After cooking, drain extra grease if there is any. Add the cumin, chili powder, whole chili pepper and oregano and mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in the carrots, onions, celery and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Add cocoa, molasses, tomatoes, chicken broth, water and kidney beans. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about an hour.

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, plus more chili powder or other spices to taste. Cook for a few more minutes before serving or refrigerate to serve another day. Flavours will develop with a bit more time!

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