The Gourmet Touch: Shake winter’s chill with a warm bowl of chili
Jan 15, 2014 | 2020 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During the cold days of winter, nothing warms us up like a bowl of chili — and everyone seems to have a favorite recipe.

When I was growing up, my mother's chili was very basic, but a little unusual because she would add cubed potatoes to the pot. I often wondered why she did this. Now I realize she may have needed to "stretch" the chili to feed our large family.

Mother's chili was good, but I prefer to leave the potatoes out of my version. Instead, I add rice to my Cajun Chili. In fact, I add a box of red beans and rice to add a new dimension of flavor to the pot.

The recipe also calls for Cajun stewed tomatoes, but if you can't get those, use regular stewed tomatoes and add a little more Cajun seasoning, if desired.

If you prefer a vegetarian-style chili, you might like the following version, which has a slight Tex-Mex flavor. I can't say that this recipe follows all the rules as far as true vegetarians are concerned, but it does taste good.

No doubt about it, there are many different recipes for this wintertime favorite. Mauna, my special friend and assistant for many years, liked her chili without beef so we came up with a delicious chicken chili, which she gave the thumbs up.

It is comforting to know that when the weather is chilly outside, you can enjoy a bowl of chili inside.

CAJUN CHILI
1 1/2 pound ground chuck
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (not Creole seasoning)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can Cajun stewed tomatoes
1 (7.4 ounce) box red beans and rice
2 cups water
1 (16 ounce) can pork and beans (or can use chili beans)
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine ground chuck and onion in large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until meat has browned. Add remaining ingredients (including the seasoning packet from the beans and rice mix) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

VEGETARIAN CHILI
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (14.5 ounce) Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 zucchini, diced (do not peel)
1 yellow squash, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 can vegetable broth (about 2 cups)
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco (or to taste)
Tortilla chips

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook until tender but not browned. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, chili powder, sugar and salt. Cook for about 1 minute. Add broth, black beans, corn, pintos, margarine and Tabasco. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. If chili gets too thick, add water or more vegetable broth. Enjoy with tortilla chips. Sprinkle some Mexican cheese over the top of each serving, if you wish.

MAUNA'S CHICKEN CHILI
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 package (1.25 ounce) McCormick's chili seasoning
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
1 cup water

Saute onion in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium-low heat, adding more water if needed, for 15 to 20 minutes.
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