Now I know that this is probably not great timing for a chili recipe, maybe I should have posted it closer to the Super Bowl, whenever that was….but hey, I write about things when I am inspired about them, when I discover them, when Laura finally sends me the damn chili recipe I had been asking for for three months! (Ok, ok, she sent it to me, last month, but I got caught up writing about other stuff and just finally made it last weekend. I confess.) I was afraid that it wasn’t going to be as wonderful as I remembered it. Maybe it was just Laura, not the recipe that worked. Oh, I better insert right here, that Greg helped make the chili the night I had it at Laura and Greg’s house, because I KNOW that if I didn’t mention it, that would end up in the comments, with the author being Greg!
And let’s face it….it’s not summer yet, so I am going to write about chili, darn it.
First of all, I love the title of Laura’s chili and as you will see, when you read the recipe, you can make it almost any way you like. I did not change the way the recipe was written as that is part of what I love about it. Laura is one of my favorite people in the world. She’s pretty laid back when it comes to cooking. One of those people that I admire, who will substitute this is she doesn’t have that, or that if she doesn’t have this. I strive to be more like that in everything I do, to improvise more. I’ve started reading a blog called The Improvised Life to try to help me along. Speaking of texture….
I have never liked veggie chili, always felt like it was missing something. Now that is not a slam to “vegematarians”, as I like to call them. Veggie chili never had veggies in it, just beans, minus the meat. What it was missing, was not meat, it was texture. Laura’s chili has all three, the requisite beans, veggies and texture, brought on by ground beef, ground turkey, or bulgur wheat. Genius. Bulgur wheat, I would have never thought of that. Bell peppers and corn add to the texture and of course qualify as veggies. I must have been channeling Laura when I threw in a can of hominy as a replacement for one of the cans of beans. Woohoo! I was living on the edge! It was a success also, as it added a whole other layer of texture. I love my texture.
Laura’s chili has beer in it, also, how can that be bad? Although, Laurent stole the one I had open on the counter waiting to “deglaze” the pan with. Good thing we has more in the fridge. I used a Lagunitas IPA, my favorite beer, and Laurent’s too.
Laura’s chili calls for hot sauce and bbq sauce. I had just bought a bottle of Co-op Hot Sauce at The Empty Bottle Farmers Market which I added to the chili. More like a few dashes, as opposed to 3 tablespoons, which was the range that Laura suggests. I was playing it on the safe side. It actually could have used more. I love this hot sauce. It has big flavor, along with the heat. It always helps to use good ingredients when you cook; it adds complexity, freshness and flavor. This was also a chance to check out Smoke Daddy’s BBQ Sauce, another local product. Can’t wait to use it on BBQ ribs in the summer. Remember it’s not summer yet, sorry to remind you. It snowed last weekend, remember? I’m just rubbing that in to justify blogging about chili at the end of March, when it would have probably been more appropriate in February!
Well, I guess I should stop rambling and get on with posting Laura’s Quick and Easy Flexatarian Chili Recipe. So here it is. It truly IS quick and easy and flexatarian along with being very tasty and my new favorite chili recipe in the world! Thanks Laura!
Laura’s Easy, Quick Flexitarian Chili
2 Tbls. olive or veg oil
1 large onion (any kind), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chopped bell peppers (a mix of red, yellow, and/or green is good)
1 bottle beer
2 cups broth (beef, chicken, or veggie)
2 – 15 oz. cans drained beans (any kind)
1 – 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes–don’t drain (or equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes or, if really desperate, 1 6 oz. can tomato paste)
1 1/2 Tbls. chili powder
1 Tbls. ground cumin
2 oz. (2 squirts) barbecue sauce
Hot sauce (somewhere between a dash and 3 Tbls.)
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce (optional–particularly good in the veg version–although I think that Worcestershire has anchovies in it, making it not vegetarian…hmm, maybe that’s why it’s so good.)
1 cup frozen corn
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup bulgur
Sauté onions and garlic (and ground beef or turkey, if using) until golden in a chili/stock/soup pot. Remove onions/garlic/ (and beef/turkey, if using) from pan, but do not wash pan. Add peppers to pan and sauté very briefly at high heat (I like to get them to brown a little while still staying crunchy). Pour in beer and scrape bottom of pan to loosen any brown bits. Add onions/garlic/ (and beef/turkey, if using) back to pan. Add everything else (including bulgur if using) except corn and let it all simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in corn and let chili simmer until corn is done.
Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!