Rainy Day Chili by Tom
Although the title of this blog entry is "Rainy Day Chili", as I am writing this, it is one of those perfect fall afternoons. Warm, bright and sunny! A little incongruous with my titled recipe. But with that said, I actually did make this during the major rainfalls we had last week associated with Hurricane Nicole, which made herself felt in our region by dumping many inches of rain.
As with many of the recipes that I make, I almost never make them the same way twice. This is especially true with chili. Chili falls into the category of whatever is in the cupboard and the refrigerator can probably be used as an ingredient in chili. This was especially true with this version. But like my other versions, this chili turned out to be delicious and perfectly suited to the weather we were experiencing.
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean pork, veal and beef mixture - actually any meat will do
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2-3 jalapeno or other hot peppers, seeded and chopped (adjust this based on the degree of heat you like)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Handful (about a dozen) baby carrots, coarsely chopped
1 jar of prepared pasta sauce - I used Paul Newman's Tomato & Basil (this is a good example of not having what I would normally use, which is a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. So I improvised! Whatever is in the pantry.)
1 bottle of beer - a secret ingredient
3 tablespoons chili powder (I actually used a Turkish seasoning that we bought at Penzey's. It smelled good to me, so I thought I would try it. It worked!)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa - a secret ingredient, a la Mexican mole
1 can of low-salt chicken broth
~2 cups water
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can butter beans
1 can black beans
2 tablespoons corn starch and enough water to make a paste for thickening (optional)
You can literally add any other vegetable that you like or have on hand. That is the beauty of chili. Virtually anything can go into the pot.
With the slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the large pot where you had previously transferred the browned meat.