Omi's Jalapeno Chili
One snowy Sunday I promised my boyfriend, Chris, I'd make chili for dinner. But when dinner time came around, no chili. I still needed to shop for the ingredients. Tired and cranky, yet wanting to keep my promise (and eat), I set out for the supermarket, windshield wipers clearing away the snow; I was determined to keep it simple. The chili turned out to be so easy I made it four more times -- not in a row. It became such a staple my oldest nephew, David, a burgeoning foodie in college, wrote me in an email that he’d rather be eating my jalapeno chili than studying. Stick to the books, I said, and chili will be your reward. One day David will make it himself.
Preparation time: ½ hour
Cooking time: at least ½ hour to 2 hours
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil (not extra virgin) or canola oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ jalapeño pepper, seeds taken out and finely chopped (wear rubber gloves if your skin is sensitive to the heat of the chili pepper)
1 small can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can kidney beans (15.5 oz.) or small red beans, rinsed and drained
1 large can (28-oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 large can (28-oz.) whole plum tomatoes
½ cup frozen corn (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese, grated
In a large pot with thick bottom – ideally Creuset cookware – put in the oil. Add garlic and onion. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure the heat is medium low so the garlic does not brown or burn. Add the green pepper and jalapeño, and 2 Tbsp. of the chili powder and cumin. Stir and cook until tender, about another 5 minutes.
Push mixture aside and add ground beef to the same pot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon so it cooks over medium-high heat. Once the meat is mostly cooked, blend together with garlic, onion and pepper mixture. Add the beans. Stir in the crushed tomato; add the whole plum tomatoes and liquid, breaking the tomatoes up with a spoon or your fingers. Add the corn. Stir in an additional tablespoon of chili powder, add the bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust by adding more chili powder or more salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over low heat for one half hour or longer, stirring often. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Add corn chips or corn bread for accompaniment and you have a meal. Perfect for Sunday football.
COPYRIGHT 2009. NAOMI KOOKER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.