I think I’m nesting.
No, not in a pull-fur-from-my-underbelly-and-make-a-nest kind of way, but more a hormonal-pregnant-woman’s-natural-nesting-instinct kind of way. I am usually a pretty organized girl, but when my sock drawer is tidy, my family photo albums up to date, my son’s toys categorically assigned to labeled bins and I’ve moved on to the ironing pile (my least favorite household task), warning lights start going off in my head. So far I haven’t done anything too outrageous and everything still seems justifiable, such as starting to stockpile frozen meals for when the baby comes. Totally practical, right?
This chili was one if the first dishes to be made in mass quantities and tucked away in liter containers. Now chili is not something I grew up with; beans, yes, in vast amounts, but chili would have required using ground beef and my mother usually kept us pretty far away from the stuff.
“Chock full of hormones” she would say.
It took a while before I could bring myself to buy ground beef, let along make a manly pot of chili for my man, but over the years it has slowly become something we enjoy once in a while during the cold winter months.
Funnily enough, Noah loves chili and that is reason enough to stockpile. Another reason is the massive bag of dried kidney beans that I have been working my way through for the past two years. I always get waaaaay to carried away in those bulk food stores. Oh, how I love them, with their eight different kinds of dried oats, pretty displays of colorful lentils, and vast assortments of dried fruit, but I inevitably end up leaving with far more than I need or could possibly use for a household of three. Hence the kidney beans.
You will find this chili convenient for making in large amounts and conducive to freezing, but there’s nothing pretty about it. It was rather hard to get inspired to photograph it--I mean, it’s chili. It just ain’t pretty!
This is a spicier version of what I usually make. Not so suitable for young children, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. If you want a milder version, just omit the can of chillies, the cayenne and reduce the chili powder by half, as I do.
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 lb Italian sausages, crumbled
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 large onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 10oz can of green chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
8 oz tomato paste
16 oz canned diced tomatoes
4-6 cups cooked kidney beans (depending on personal preference)
(1 cup frozen corn)
In a large saucepan, brown the beef and sausage in 2 tablespoons oil, drain off fat and reserve meat. In the same pot, add beef stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and crumble saffron into stock. Set aside to steep.
In another skillet, heat remaining oil and sweat onions and garlic. Add chillies and seasonings and stir.
In a large pot combine tomatoes, beef stock, onion/ spice mixture and meat. Stir well and simmer slowly, partially covered, for about 1½ hours. Check seasoning and adjust.
Add kidney beans and slowly cook another 10 minutes or so. Serve with crusty bread or cornbread. Garnish with any or all of the following: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onions or cubed avocado.