Chili days, spicy nights.

Many of you know me as a vegan. Most of the time. For a couple of years now, I've been convinced that a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to go. Cut me open and you'll find kale bits coursing through my healthy little veins.

However. The other day I found myself out to dinner with a friend just dying, dying, for a morsel of pecorino off her cheese plate. And then I stopped being desperate and started getting bitter about it. Not fair! She's eating cheese. Why can't I eat cheese?

Yes. These are the lame, childhood logic-laced dialogues I have with myself. But then another, more exciting, kind of logic occurred to me...

I imagined God meeting me at the pearly gates after I die, and after cluing me in on the behind-the-scenes of my life's performance hearing him say, "By the way, you could've had the pecorino. Really. No big deal."

That silly moment of clarity brought me here: If I'm living this life to its fullest, I'm not leaving the occasional slice of Prosciutto behind.

As I'm learning more and more how to balance things--priorities, emotions, relationships--I'm learning that I could use a little more edge on my good-girl dinner plate. Which is why I took a flying leap off the bandwagon and made...CHILI. Spicy, flavorful, welcome-back-to-the-club chili.

Game day, plus a cool night in NYC, plus a husband who's a meat-lover--I had all of the excuses I needed to take the plunge. And I went back for seconds.

Chili is just not photogentic. This pretty pot is courtesy of Frog and Princess.

Spicy Beef and Bean Chili
Serves 6-8

2 lbs. quality ground beef (Yes, it exists.)
2 yellow onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2 jalapenos, sliced (including seeds)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 cups vegetable stock
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can pinto beans

*Sharp cheddar, sour cream, chives and avocado to garnish

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the meat until cooked and set aside to drain on paper towels.
In the same pot (with the beef drippings), heat one tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, garlic and peppers. Saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the dry spices to the pot and mix until the vegetables are coated. Continue to cook almost until the point of burning the spices. You want to toast them throroughly to bring out a depth of flavor. When you're at the point, add the stock to the pot and vigorously scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits of meat and veggies.

3. Add the tomatoes and beans to the pot and return the meat to the pot. Stir together and add two teaspoons of salt. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for at least 45 minutes--it can continute to cook for up to two hours, but keep in mind that the longer it simmers, the spicier it will be. Taste again and season as necessary.

4. Serve hot and garnish as desired. It's fun to set up a little chili bar with tons of toppings to choose from!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no you didn't! Chili?! Let me find out. But I love how you speak about food and life, you have such a way with words. Miss you!