Ch ch ch ch ch ch CHILI
I love chili. It's incredibly diverse, you can add just about any meat, bean or vegetable, make it spicy (or not...but where's the fun in that?), and it has lots of health benefits.
why I eat chili and why YOU should too!
Texas was the first to 'discover' and take credit for chili, but undeniably it has Mexican roots. You may know this traditionally as chili con carne, which includes beef, pork, chiles, garlic, onion, oregano and cumin. New Mexican chile verde also leaves out the beans. Thick, juicy chunks of pork shoulder is the backbone of this chili with a tart tomatillo sauce. However, you will find that many chili's do incorporate beans and often many varieties of beans like pinto, black, garbanzo, and kidney.
In the 1880's, San Antonio was the first to have chili stands where women, a.k.a 'chili queens', sold bowls o'red for a mere 10 cents, including bread and water as accompaniments. The dish was a hit and eventually made it's way north to Chicago at the World Fair in 1893. Some would even say this dish was responsible for keeping many alive during the Great Depression due to the low cost and free crackers. The times have certainly changed since then, but it still remains true to be a low cost dish for many.
No longer are chili joints and competitions found only in Texas. In fact, we have many competitions fast approaching right here in Minnesota where you can either taste or participate or both.
Chili Cook-off's in 2018 around the state
January 17th: Crosslake Chamber Chili Cook-off, Baxter, MN
January 27th: Owatonna's Chili Cook-off, Owatonna, MN
February 9th & 10th: Chilly Open, Wayzata, MN
February 22nd is National Chili Day
And if you're the adventurous type, check out this website from the World Championship Chili Cook-off to find competitions nationally.
three sister's chili
Throughout the year, I eat and prepare chili. It changes seasonally at my home and varies drastically based on what's in my pantry/fridge. This week, I thought I would continue on the cinnamon trend I started (from the monthly newsletter) and pull ingredients that were around and available. I always have beans on hand, and that with the combination of corn and squash make this the 'three sister's' chili.
-Three sisters, culinarily speaking, are the three main agricultural crops of many Native Americans in North American. They include winter squash, corn, and beans, and are all grown together as companions. Each crop is planted close so that each may benefit from one another.
corn is for structure
beans are for nitrogen fixing
squash is for weed prevention
ok, ok, here's the recipe
Prepares 24 cups
2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
7 cloves garlic, roasted and pureed*
3 tablespoons oil
3 - 32oz jars (96oz total) tomatoes, diced and pureed
3 hot pickled Hungarian peppers, pureed*
2 medium onions, diced
1 lb carrots, sliced into rounds (~9 medium)
5 cups cooked black beans
2 cups corn
1 1/2 tablespoon salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper, more to taste
2 tablespoons coriander, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cumin
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro to garnish, chopped
*option to puree or chop
1. In a 425F oven, roast butternut with 2 tablespoons oil and cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil and sauté onion and carrot. After ~6-8 minutes when carrot begins to soften, add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
3. Add butternut and simmer on stove until it's reached your desired consistency. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavor will develop. Let it stew and grow if you want something magical in your mouth without regret. Garnish with Greek yogurt and cilantro.
Having extra chili on hand is never a bad thing. You can always freeze it and enjoy it weeks or months later when you're lazy. Or give to your guests: they'll love you forever.