Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Chili Recipe

I love to cook, and especially to bake. I really wish I would have paid attention to my Mom and Dad all those years they told me to pay attention in the kitchen because I'd know so much more, including family recipes and techniques. I'm lucky that I'm still able to learn them from my parents when I'm with them. This stubbornness (ie "I can read. All I have to do is read the recipe." What a little jerk I was! And foolish, too.) lead me to leave home with very little kitchen expertise and a sadly lacking imagination for menu planning. I still struggle with figuring out a menu for my family that is consistently satisfying to them yet varied enough for me and isn't boring to prepare.

One of the first recipes I came up with was what would later be known as my Sweet Chili. I've given it out to a few people, usually after they've eaten it and been convinced that chili can be sweet, not just savory or spicy. Lately, I've taken to sharing it online or giving it out on a nice recipe card in swaps. I've been really honored to have gotten some very kind and enthusiastic feedback on my chili and I love to share. So, I thought I'd share the recipe here, too.

Jeannie’s Sweet Chili.

1 bottle of V8 (I use the medium-sized bottle, and I usually get one fortified with calcium or antioxidants)
1 can each of mild chili beans, light kidney beans, dark kidney beans, great northern beans, black beans
1.5 pounds of hamburger or ground turkey (they both taste GREAT!) Or soy crumbles.
1 family-sized boil-in-bag brown rice
Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, season salt, sugar

Brown the meat with a few dashes of garlic and onion powders, just to make the kitchen smell fantastic and get you in the mood to cook. While that is cooking, open all cans of beans. Once meat is cooked through, drain thoroughly (I even wipe out the pan to remove as much residual fat as possible), return to pot and heat.

Add V8.

Empty all beans EXCEPT the chili beans, into a colander and rinse with cool water until it runs clear. Add all beans to the pot. Marvel at how pretty all those beans look together.

Cook boil-in-bag rice per manufacturer’s directions (I cook mine in the microwave for ten minutes in a micro-safe bowl, covered in water).

Bringing the chili to a simmer, add enough chili powder to cover the surface of the chili in a dry layer (you want enough chili powder to make it taste like chili and not tomato soup). Stir. Add garlic and onion powders to taste. If you feel it needs more salt, use season salt so you get less sodium and more flavor. Stir in about a 3/4 cup sugar until it is dissolved. Taste often to be sure it’s just how you like it.

Stir in hot cooked rice, heat to steaming and serve.

My family gets two meals and leftovers out of this recipe, so I’d estimate that it would serve 8 comfortably.

Notes: I make this chili because my family loves it and my husband just recently started eating veggies. So, with the V8 and a glass of milk, I could be sure he was getting a complete meal in a bowl, with lots of fiber and protein to boot. However, I’d make this a bit differently if I were making it exactly how I like it: I’d add a can of crushed tomatoes, saute a large onion and a few mild peppers with the meat, and serve it with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese on top with a slice of wheat bread smeared with peanut butter. Everyone thinks I’m crazy to suggest peanut butter bread with chili, but I promise that if you try it, you’ll love it! Just dip it in the chili, and give it a shot; you’ll be amazed at how yummy it is!

If you don’t want to add the rice directly to the pot, it makes a nice presentation to allow the rice to sit in a bowl to cool for a few minutes and become a bit sticky. Then, use an ice cream scoop to place a rice ball in the middle of each bowl of chili. If you like a spicier chili, get hot chili beans, and add more chili powder or a few spicy peppers to the browning meat.

Yum!! I hope you enjoy it! I just wish I could make it for you!


Please note, I'm sharing this because I love giving. So please, if you make this and someone asks for the recipe, it would be very cool of you to call it "Jeannie's Sweet Chili." It took years for me to get this consistent and yummy, and I'm very proud of my little recipe, so giving me credit or directing curious recipe-seekers here would be kind, cool, and appreciated. :)


Candi said...

I'm only about 30 minutes away, you could make it for me... hehehe

But I just may have to try this one out. I love different chili recipes...

Jeannie said...

I'm surprised you have had it, Candi; I've made it for so many meetings, get-togethers, and what-nots, that I figure eveyone I know has had it at least once! lol

Candi said...

I very well may have, but hey that doesn't mean you can't make me some more. hehehehe. Just joking...