Wednesday, February 10, 2016
A few weeks ago, I was gaming online with my sister and her husband. We always Skype while we play so that we can talk about our game strategy, chat, etc., and they mentioned they were making chili. Every so often they would have to take a break to stir the chili and whatnot. It was definitely a chili kind of day. You know the kind - soggy, chilled to the bones weather that just makes you crave hot, hearty comfort food. Hearing them talk about it really made me want chili too so I started to think about what was in my pantry and fridge and thought even wondered out loud how the chorizo in my fridge would be in chili. We all thought it would be really good and I knew I had canned beans and tomato products, onions, garlic and plenty of spices in my pantry so.... I went for it and made this Chorizo Chili.
The Chorizo itself provided most of the flavor for the chili making it an ideal choice if you're running low on spices but it also provides a good base if you like 5 Alarm style, very hot chili - just add you favorite hot chilis, or chipotle in adobo (or both), more chili powder, some cayenne - whatever helps you achieve the level of spiciness you crave.
Chili is wonderful because it's so versatile and forgiving - it's truly hard to mess it up, plus I knew it would be the perfect thing for Game Day - I could have it all ready to go and hubby could dish up at half-time. Use your favorite beans - I like pinto beans or black beans for chili, personally, but I know lots of people who like to use kidney beans or red beans. Whatever floats your boat is fine. You can also change up the tomato base - I used crushed tomatoes last time I made this and today I'm using tomato puree. You can adjust the thickness and texture in this way too. Crushed tomatoes will result in a chunkier chili that's fairly thick, tomato sauce will be a happy medium between thick and thin and tomato puree will be so thick you'll probably need to add liquid - I used chicken stock for this today but beef stock, water or beer would all be great choices too.
This time, I made the whole thing in my deep cast iron skillet, which makes it a one-pot wonder! (can I get an Amen for less dishes to wash?)
Start by browning the chorizo in the skillet, stirring here and there, but giving it a chance to caramelize (you can add a little oil to the pan, if needed). When the chorizo is about half-way done, add the chopped onions and garlic. If you're using peppers, add them now too.
Meanwhile, you can drain and rinse the beans. I do this because canned beans, even the low sodium ones I try to always purchase, can be very high in sodium and the liquid in the can is often very starchy. If you need that starch to thicken your sauce up, you can skip this step.
Continue cooking and stirring until the chorizo is nicely browned and the onions are translucent. Add in the beans...
... and spices, then...
... stir in your tomato product of choice (I'm using tomato puree here).
If the Chorizo Chili is thicker than you prefer, pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of stock, water or beer. If it's too thin, you can add masa flour to thicken it. I used chicken stock today because I have some I need to use up. Stir it in and let it just come to a boil, then turn down the heat to your lowest setting and let it simmer. I prefer to let it simmer for a few hours to really develop the flavors, but the first night we had this, it only had about 20 minutes to simmer and it was still very good. I know this because Steven asked me if I remembered what I did so that I could make it again!
Here's the recipe:
1 lb Chorizo (make sure to get the bulk-style sausage, not the cured salami-style version)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can beans, drained and rinsed (I used black beans today, pinto beans, kidney beans or red beans are also great choices)
pinch of salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp cilantro
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1, 28 oz can tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce)
1/4 - 1/2 cup stock (I used chicken, you can also use beef stock, beer or water)
Preheat cast-iron skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat. Add Chorizo to the pan and brown for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until sausage is fully browned and onions are translucent. Add beans and spices, stir in to blend well. Add Tomato puree (or your tomato product of choice), stir in. If you need to thin your chili a bit, stir in stock, water or beer, then bring just to a slight boil. Turn down heat to lowest setting, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours or all day.
We like to garnish our chili with cheese, onions and sour cream and serve it over rice or with cornbread on the side. Serve hot and enjoy!