Poor Man's Chili
Poor Man's Chili
I’m not sure if this qualifies quite as a recipe, as it is more of a guideline or suggestion. You will notice a lack of specific amounts to add to the recipe, and that is because it is entirely up to you. I call this Poor Man’s Chili, because I equate it to when I was going to school, working part-time and didn’t have a lot of money to eat out. I would often make this from whatever I could find in my cupboard and it would last me a few days. Also if you went out and bought all of these ingredients, you would likely be able to get it all for around $15-$20, and it’s enough for 4-8 servings, depending on your appetite and/or ideal serving size.
The first thing I do is rummage through my fridge and counter to see what kinds of fresh veggies I have. The best veggies to look for are: onions – any color, any type, even green; bell peppers (or any other peppers you have and can eat), celery, zucchini or mushrooms. You can also try okra or asparagus! Be creative! The only thing I would recommend against is carrots because they will add a sweet flavor when cooked that clashes with the rest of the chili.
You’ll want some sort of mix and matched mash up that equates to the volume of about one onion, two-three bell peppers and a container of mushrooms. If you want more, do it, but I wouldn’t skimp on the veggies or it may end up being too soupy or not hearty enough.
Next, you’ll need to pick out some meat. The possibilities are endless, but I would stick to a land or air animal – hint: seafood probably won’t go well with the chili. Suggestions: Sausage, hotdog, chicken, steak, lamb, ground beef, ground turkey. Mix and Match if you want. You’ll want about 4-5 hearty servings of the meat. Just use your eye, your experience and your appetite.
If you have pre-cooked meat: cut it up and set it aside.
If you have raw cuts meat, such as chicken breast or steak: thaw it, cut it up and set it aside.
If you have raw ground meat, simply set it aside.
Last, you’ll want 2 cans of diced/stewed/cut tomatoes; and 4 cans of any beans that tickle your fancy. Garbanzo, Kidney, Cannellini, Navy, Black, or if you wanna get adventurous, try a can of corn (not creamed). There is no wrong combination. Just pick out four that you like.
For the tomatoes: open, set aside.
For the beans: open, drain, rinse, drain again, and set aside.
Cut all the veggies up as desired and start to sauté them with a dash of olive oil in the chili pot. Add some garlic, cumin, chili powder, pepper and if desired – salt. If you like a hotter chili, add red pepper flakes. (Another filling option to try is potatoes, just cut them into small cubes, and allow them to cook longer at first before adding the other veggies).
If the meat is raw, start cooking it in a separate pan, also with a dash of olive oil, and add the same seasonings that you did to the veggies.
When the veggies are soft and aromatic, turn the heat down to low. When the meat is ready or just about ready, add it to the chili pot with the veggies and turn up the heat. If your meat was pre-cooked, just add it in now.
Wait a moment for the pot to get hot again, and add in the two cans of stewed/diced/cut tomatoes, juice and all. Adding the tomatoes will cool the pot, give it a minute or two to heat back up again, and then add all the beans. Let the chili come to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium. Carefully taste it and add additional seasoning if necessary. To make the chili hotter, add some Tobasco or other hot sauce; or additional red pepper flakes.
After letting it cook on medium with the additional seasonings, turn it down to low. Let it rest a few minutes before serving, and remember it will be hot!
After serving, add a dollop of sour cream if desired. And, Enjoy!
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