Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Slow and Sexy Chili Time

Hullo everybody, been a while hasn't it? Well, I'm sorry. I've been, like.....busy, you know?

Being busy is a tricky thing. Especially if you're on a tight financial budget (like many of us), a tight time budget (i'm sure there are lots of those too), and have your tight budget funded by government money you have to pay back some day (probably a good number of you out there too). So, I've been practicing a few tricks over the months so far and have learned some rather useful ones. Prepare to have your minds BLOWN:

1) Make larger batches of different inexpensive but tasty things, less frequently, and spend more time eating, getting shit done, and resting when you can, instead of cooking all the time. (or worse, buying expensive food out every day!)

2) Slow cookers fuckin RULE. 'Nuff said.

So, here is a recipe that uses these two tricks to their fullest. And it's perfect for this cold and gray time of year.

Chili! (Inspired by this recipe at Andrea's Recipes, I've mutated it over the handful of times I've made it so far)

1 large white onion, chopped
3-6 stalks of celery (depending on their size, mine were kinda small so I used more)
Critical!: Arrange ingredients into silly face

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 8oz block of tempeh, crumbled
1-3 cups cooked/canned beans (depending on how beany you like your chili!)
2 large 28 oz cans of tomatoes (diced or crushed)
1/2 small can of tomato paste (or more, if richer chili is wanted)
1 heaping tablespoon gochujang [korean hot pepper paste] (optional)
Spice blend:
4 tablespoons cumin powder
2 heaping tablespoons chili powder (or to heat preference)
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt to taste

First start off the onions in the pan on medium heat, tossing in a little salt to help pull the moisture out and soften them up. Once they've gone translucent and maybe even picked up some brown spots, add in the celery and garlic and let that sweat too. And then after giving those two a few minutes to mingle, chuck in the sweet potato and stand back!

Nothing too crazy...except for an aromatic veggie threesome!
Let them sit in the pan for a few minutes, just to soften up those sweet potato chunks a litle bit, then add in the crumbled tempeh and give it a whirl. When you're patience has run out (or there's a little brown on the tempeh) add in the tomato and optional red pepper pastes and stir them around. Cooking the tomato paste helps mellow it out, and it gives the whole chili a real awesome...ness. After about a minute of that, dump in the spices and mix them in, making sure they get a chance to touch the pan's surface. I know it's really dry, just keep stirring. If you're concerned that it's really REALLY dry, add in a little cooking oil, water, or juice from the canned tomatoes to wet it down a little. Just a little though! It should still be dryish.You'll smell them, they really light up when they get toasted like that, and when they are super fragrant, they're done. Turn off the heat and glop this fragrant chunky paste into your slow cooker set to low (if forgetting it overnight) or high (if for a couple hours where you can check on it later).


What do you mean it looks weird? You wouldn't eat it like that?

Well DUH. It's not done fool! Relax, there's more.

This is like a super chili base. It's way concentrated and obviously not chili-like. At this point, mix in your canned tomato, then your beans (gently, so you don't smoosh them) and then, if it's looking like a nice, thick chili....make it soupy. WTF you say? Chill out, just add enough water (or liquid of preference) to make it thinner than you'd like it to be when you eat it, so that it can bubble in the cooker without burning and give all the ingredients a chance to swim around and dance. It'll thicken up again as it evaporates! Add enough salt, and then, leave it alone!

Depending on your style, this chili will be done in a few hours or when you wake up in the morning. Personally, I prefer the overnight method with the cooker on low. You get to wake up to the best smelling house/apartment/kitchen/bedroom/cardboard box you've ever woken in.

1 comment:

  1. I love when my cardboard box smells like chilly instead of feet.