KJC's Chili Recipe

For meat-eaters

This recipe is adapted from Bittman's How To Cook Everything. Invented 1/28/2003, updated 2/14/2003 (this page modified 2/17). It was hot for me (almost too hot), but I'm a bit of a spice wimp. Originally, I said omit the chile to make it milder, but we looked over the ingredients again & realized that ONE teaspoon of chili powder (instead of two) tones down the spice quite nicely and it's definitely not too hot for me now. Leftovers are fabulous.

Serves 2-3, depending upon appetites


1. Fry pork in a non-stick pan, breaking up chunks to make a crumble; season with salt, fresh ground pepper, and 1 tsp chili powder (2 tsp. for spicy) - cook completely through

2. While pork is frying, take a large pot, dump in the beans and tomatoes (don't bother to drain them), minced chile, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and ground pepper - mix thoroughly and bring just to a boil

(Note that mincing a dried chile is a pain in the butt cuz the bits go everywhere - I use my thumb on one side and block the path of trajectory with my other hand on the other side of the blade - wash your hands with soap after you finish playing with the chile and BEFORE you touch any other part of your body.)

3. Turn the heat down to simmer bean & tomato goo for 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally (10 minutes covered, 5 minutes uncovered to evaporate some of the liquid - adjust to your tastes)

4. Add fully cooked pork to bean & tomato goo - ideally, aim for about halfway through the 15 minutes so all the flavors get to blend, but you could easily put it in at the beginning... (I'm not sure how good it would be if you dumped it in at the end with the rice, but go for it)

5. In another small saucepan, boil chicken broth or stock and butter; once boiling, add rice, stir, cover, remove from heat (follow package directions) - most instance rice packages need 5 minutes to absorb the liquid, so if you time it right, it'll be done at the same time as your chili

6. When 15 minutes are up, mix rice into chili and serve with finely grated cheddar (or you can put the rice in bowls and serve the chili over it and the cheddar on top of that... or anyway you want it)

Bittman likes starting from dried beans, but with this recipe you can actually put the whole thing together and eat in under 30 minutes (especially if you have a helper either frying the pork or handling the bean & tomato goo). His recipe calls for EITHER chili powder OR cumin/oregano/dried chili - note that I use both. Your mileage may vary.

I also like a nice piece of toast from home-made bread with this, but I'm spoiled.

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