I know what you’re thinking – a chili recipe right now? But spring has finally sprung! The long winter is over! Break out the shorts and sunscreen!
And that’s probably the case for most parts of the country right now. But maybe our friends in the Southern Hemisphere can relate to my current predicament. This is the view from my kitchen this morning:
And believe me, I’m ready for tank tops and flip flops, too – it’s just not in the cards today. Denver in springtime can’t make up its mind.
So with those lemons, I’m making lemonade … er, chili! This is a quick recipe I created for an easy dinner one night when I was low on ingredients and time. It also makes a great weekend lunch, and my kids will actually eat it (loaded with shredded cheese and crushed crackers, of course).
Here’s all you need (plus a few kitchen staples like oil and salt):
Then it’s as simple as a little chopping and opening a few cans. First, you dice the onion and garlic and soften them in a little olive oil. Then warm up the spices in the pan for a moment before adding the tomatoes and drained beans. Simmer and dinner!
And the best thing about this recipe? It is incredibly versatile. Here are some ways to mix it up:
- Substitute black beans for the kidney beans
- Throw in some corn or hominy
- Add diced bell pepper, or carrots, or zucchini (or all three!) with the onions and garlic
- If you like heat, add a diced jalapeno or some cayenne pepper
- Add some beer for a soupier consistency
- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 14.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Heat oil in a medium sauce pan on medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not browned, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add chili powder and cumin. Heat for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and beans, cover, and reduce heat to low. Add water if you desire a soupier consistency. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
- Add salt to taste. I often also add brown sugar (about 1 tsp at a time) to offset the acidity of the tomatoes.
And then the fun begins. We love to top this chili with:
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Diced onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Crushed crackers
So if you’re wearing shorts right now, I might be a tiny bit jealous. Just file this recipe away for one of those rainy summer days or for the beginning of fall. And cross your fingers for my strawberry plants!
P.S. Studying for a Chili Cookoff? Well you’re in luck, we’re real scholars of chili. You can read two of Laura’s versions here and here.