Today (February 1st) marks the first anniversary of the first andthenmakesoup post. I’m amazed at how quickly the year passed, and that I have yet to make a dent in my recipe files!
A big thank you to all my friends (including those I’ve yet to meet in person) for support, comments, on and offline feedback, and especially for putting up with me saying “Wait, wait, don’t eat it yet, I have to take a picture of it first!!” I appreciate all of you.
I don’t usually do a mid-week post, but since we’re here anyway and the storm is upon us, I figured I’d offer something hearty and warming. I shopped yesterday, assuming the meteo-folk were right about what we could expect. They’re right so far, its 30 degrees (yikes!!) here in Austin and I’m making a big pot of what I call Yankee chili.
One of my friends who is a lawyer and foodie tells me I must stop calling it chili as there are actually no chilis in it. Picky picky. Yes, ok, this is probably more souq than southwest, but I love it when its chilly (and even when its not). I don’t really care what you call it; its good!
Really, I wish you could smell it. Its meat and beans, of course, onions, bacon and porcini mushrooms, and (wait for it…) Armenian 7-spice. Oh and dried blueberries and currants. Mmmmm!
Now I have friends who don’t like to mix meat and fruit, or so they tell me. I’m not one to trick folks into trying things, so if someone asks I will tell them what’s in a dish. But I’ve never had complaints about this chili-stew.
If you have the time and are a plan-ahead sort of person you can certainly use dry beans. I believe that dry garbanzos taste superior to canned, even though I think that canned are fine. Anyway, since I was planning to make this today I soaked the garbanzos and red beans over night.
The other beans I used were canned, as were the tomatoes. I didn’t bother to reconstitute the porcinis as I knew they’d do it themselves in the pot. And, the bacon was already cooked from the grocery salad bar. Easy enough! So, on a very cold day in central Texas I offer you:
1 lb ground beef
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans white beans (canneloni or mayocoba)
1 can garbanzos
1 can pinto or small red beans
2 cans tomatoes (fire-roasted are excellent)
1/2 C cooked bacon
a few pieces of dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 C each dried blueberries and Zante currants
1 T Armenian 7-spice*
Now, with the understanding that all amounts above are guidelines only, in a large Dutch oven sauteé the chopped onion in the olive oil. When the onion is translusent add the 7-spice and stir for 1 minute or so. (*If you can’t find 7-spice, try 1/2 t each of ground cinnamon, cumin, corriander, black pepper, allspice and cardamom.) Add the ground beef and cook until nicely browned. Add the cooked bacon and the chopped dried porcinis and mix well. Add all the beans (drained and rinsed) and mix well. Add the tomatoes and fruit, stir to mix, then simmer stirring occasionally for at least one hour.
Enjoy this with a nice green salad, fresh crusty bread and of course good friends.
That’s pretty much it. You can make it “beefier”, or leave out all the meat entirely and add 1 lb of chopped button or crimini or portobello mushrooms to the sauteéd onions and 1 tsp of smoked paprika along with the 7-spice for a vegetarian/vegan stew. The meatless option also works nicely as a hearty side dish. Yes, I’ve made it that way and yes, its good. And, this would be happy in a slow cooker or crock pot I think. So, always options.
In any event, I hope you are all warm and safe. Be careful, bon appetit, and again, thanks to you all!