Secret roasty saucy chili ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

21 April 2008

Secret roasty saucy chili

Clearly you could spend the rest of your life making all different kinds of chili. Chili chili chili.

Here is one kind:

Chili with roasty business

First, ROAST:
olive or flavorless oil w/ cayenne
a butternut squash
most of a head of garlic

Infuse the oil with cayenne: put some oil and some cayenne in a little frying pan and swirl it around over low heat. You don't want to cook them, just to warm them up together. (If you're feeling lazy, it would probably be fine not to even bother with this, and just use oil and cayenne to season the roast straight.)

Peel a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut off the top and bottom, seed with a spoon, and cut the flesh into little pieces. Throw all the bits into a pan appropriate for roasting. (You could also use other kinds of squash, or a couple sweet potatoes: all delicious.) Then tackle the garlic: smash the cloves with the flat of a knife, peel them, tear them up a bit if you think they're too big, and throw them into the pan.

Pour the infused oil (or just some oil and some cayenne) over the squash and garlic. Mix. Bake at 400F, stirring every once in a while, for about a half hour, until squash is cooked through and starting to come up with dark crispy bits.

This would be delicious just as is. I would eat it. Maybe I would put it on top of some mashed potatoes, add some chopped toasted pecans, and/or crispy sage, and have multiple textures to contend with!

Ok ok. In this circumstance we used the roasty business in chili.

onion, carrot and celery
olive oil/other acceptable oil
green pepper, or other colors if you feel like it
a hot pepper or two
chili powder, paprika, cumin, marjoram, salt, pepper
roasty squash and garlic business
tomato puree/sauce of some type
cooked black beans
cooked red beans
veg broth
a bay leaf
a deep pot
an afternoon.


Get out your big pot. Peel and chop an onion, a couple carrots, and a couple stalks of celery. Well, don't peel the celery, but destring it if you want. Actually, we didn't have any celery at all, but I would have used it had we had it! YES. Anyway. Dice everything up finely and throw it in the pot with some oil. Put it over medium heat and soften it all up with your first batch of spices: lots of chili powder and cumin, some paprika, and only a little marjoram. MIREPOIX.

While mirepoix is going, chop up a hot pepper or two, a green pepper, and a couple of tomatillos. Add them and soften them too. In general, subscribe to a "chop it; chuck it in" policy.

When all the vegetables are reasonably softened, it's time for liquid. Broth: add several cups, either liquid or frozen. If frozen, get some vegetables on top of the frozen chunk so it defrosts more quickly. You could also use water if you don't have any broth. Tomato stuff: add a full big can (or less if your pot isn't that big). Salt reasonably; pepper; bay leaf. At this point my pot was about half full.

Being the business to a simmer. Now add beans (with broth if you've just cooked the beans and have lots of bean broth). I used a whole pot of red beans with broth plus a half-batch chunk of frozen preboiled black beans. Also add several shakes of tvp. Also add the done roasty squash and garlic.

Add some water to get the whole business liquidy enough to cook down a while. Correct the seasonings with more chili powder and cumin, plus whatever else tastes necessary. If you want to add any cooking alcohol at this time, I suggest tequila.

Bring the business back to a simmer, lower the heat, put on the lid, and leave it for at least an hour. Leave it for more than an hour. Leave it for as long as you can stand it. When you are starving and everything smells perfect, make some toast and go for it.

I had my first bowl of chili in the traditional rustic chunky way, but John wanted to try puréeing it. So we busted out the stick blender and puréed it. The result: not exactly what my brain interprets as chili, but still very very good. Essentially, it became a super-savory deep chili-tomato sauce. So you can clearly eat it as is, with your copious toast as mentioned. I would probably make a bunch of croutons for it in the future. But! We can clearly do all kinds of things with a chili sauce business of this type:

- Use it as sauce for a pan of cheese-green onion enchiladas.
- Pour it over some hot split biscuits for biscuits and chili, with some chard or other solid greens.
- Make a corn bread, corn fritters, or a corn pudding or souffle, and use it as sauce for that.
- Or bake with chunks of cornbread and cheese into a swirly bread pudding thing.
- Mix it with a spoonful of sour cream and eat it with lots of chips or vegetables.
- Whip it into some mashed potatoes for half-soporific half-spicy late sleepy dinner.
- Make a batch of savory silver-dollar pancakes with lots of chopped greens, smear with chili, and eat.
- Make the most severe chili cheese fries and/or dog of your career.

Invite other people over to eat chili with you, or put leftovers into every piece of tupperware you own and fill up the freezer. We chose the second option. When we come home from New York in a week, there will be a freezer full of chili waiting for us.

Oh yeah, we're going to New York!

We're going RIGHT NOW.

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