Today we’re going to dispel any myth or impression that all of my dishes are thoughtfully planned out or are super complicated. In fact, some of them don’t even have recipes. For instance, last night’s edition of “What’s In My Pantry?” Around 6 pm Andy mentioned that he might make chili because it was a chilly/chili kind of night. I couldn’t make it over to his house for dinner, so I did a quick mental inventory of my pantry and fridge and decided that I could make a little chili of my own. Did I have everything I might have wanted? No. But in the end it still hit the spot and I was eating by 9:00 pm. Not bad since I didn’t get home until after 7 and I still had to thaw the beef. The best part about this non-recipe is that it takes very little hands on time, which is perfect for a weeknight. I was able to tidy up the house and catch up on a little Tivo, all while making a dinner that doubled as a take-to-work lunch.
Joining me for a bowl of chili was my downstairs neighbor, JC. He’s always open to popping in for a bite. He was especially enthusiastic last night as he’d just returned from the gym and was starving. Turns out that a little couch time, chili, and catch-up conversation was just what we both needed.
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced (I used up bits of white and red onion from the fridge
1 carrot, diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper
1-1 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 large can of whole, peeled tomatoes
½ can pinto beans
½ can super sweet corn kernels
Plenty of chili powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander, and ground cayenne
Dice all of the vegetables. Heat a 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot and toss in veggies. Season with salt and pepper then sauté until slightly browned and softened. Add ground beef and, using a spoon to break up the beef, brown it for 3-4 minutes as well. When beef has released its juices and cooked through, add about a cup of the stock and the whole can of tomatoes. Season heavily with salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Simmer with the lid slightly off for 30-45 minutes. If the liquid reduces too much, then add more stock. If the seasonings are lacking, then add some more. Remember, you can always add but you can never take back.
When the chili just almost tastes perfect, add the beans and corn, both well drained and rinsed. Simmer 10 minutes more. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and corn bread.