Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Showdown Chili

London officially has snow on the ground. We got about 10cm the other day, so not enough to result in any snow days, but enough to have it feeling a lot like Christmas. I wish it was December so I could start celebrating! Starbucks has its Christmas drinks and cups out as well, and I admit to already having a few peppermint mochas.

Though, the snow does make walking the dogs a bit more eventful. Since their hair is so curly, they often get back into the house with huge snow growths on their legs. Zoe gets them really bad and ends up waddling all the way home (which I find hilarious, but then I have to bundle her up in towels and blankets and cuddle her until she defrosts. Which isn't a hardship, really). Today, Sarah got their jackets out and, though I lean more towards big dogs and not dressing your pets up, I gotta say that they looked pretty damn cute.

And what's better to have after a walk on a cold, winter-ish day than a bowlful of chili? I love having a steaming bowl of hot goodness when it's cold outside- nostalgia and comfort and deliciousness. It's even better when your friend buys you a slow cooker for your birthday! So this was my chance not only to make a hot, scrumptious meal, but also to break in my new kitchen toy. The chili recipe I chose to make has been on my to-do list for ages. Has anyone tried recipes from Bite Me? I've done nearly every recipe in their book. I absolutely love it.

Now, as with most chili recipes, you can make it as hot or as mild as you want to. I went more on the mild side this time, as my friend is not a huge fan of so-hot-I-sweat food. However, it's as easy as adding a few more pinches of chili powder or a few more jalapeños if you want to make it hotter. I made my chili in my new, shiny slow cooker, but it'd be just as easy to simmer the stew in a pot over the stove for a good few hours on low heat. Either way, the result is a delicious, belly-warming chili that is bound to get you through the cold days.

Showdown Chili
Adapted from Bite Me
Serves 8 big bowls

• 1 medium red onion, chopped
• 1 tbsp chili powder
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
• 1 red pepper, chopped
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
• 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 can of pickled jalapeño peppers (depending on how spicy you want it)
• 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
• 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can of your favourite baked beans
• 1 3/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup mild salsa
• 1 cup vegetable broth
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 tsp packed brown sugar
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 cup canned cream style corn
• shredded mozzarella cheese for topping

Put everything into your slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring every so often, until everything is stew-soft and awesome.

For stove top: in a large pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes and all the beans, salsa, vegetable broth, cocoa powder, brown sugar and cayenne. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring every so often. Add corn and serve in bowls with cheese.

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