Oh, Texas. I’m so sorry I didn’t buy into your bean- and tomato-free chili game sooner. You know what you’re doing, and it’s just the thing we could use to take the edge off a blustery evening. I guess that’s to be expected when five types of peppers are involved, but please don’t let that number scare away any spice-averse folks — the heat level is easily customizable.
Oh boy, it’s been a while. This post’s title hints at some of the goings-on in the past month — I’ve moved! (Oh yeah … David and Sirius came along, too.) Well, we’re finally just about settled into the new place and are enjoying everything about it, 85-year-old building quirks and all.
In an effort to move as little food as possible, the past few months have been dedicated to clearing out the pantry (and fridge). In other words, it’s been pretty straightforward in the kitchen of late — I haven’t created many new recipes, but it’s been fun hitting up the classics. There have been a few standout dishes, though, this soup being one of them. Needing only a handful of ingredients (ok, two handfuls) and minimal prep, it’s ideal for when you need a very quick, healthy and homey light meal for two. When everything was in transition and boxes were the closest thing around to a table, I welcomed that last part most.
Stay tuned — things are going to get a lot more interesting around here!
The combination of beans, greens, some sort of meat and stock, is my go-to base for an easy, hearty soup dinner, perfect for a winter weeknight. I really enjoy making all of the long-cooking parts — chicken stock, beans — from scratch so I have the most control over seasonings. Thankfully, both can be cooked up ahead of time and refrigerated for up to a week (the stock can be frozen for several months), so a from-scratch (bonus points if you make your own sausage!), healthy, flavor-packed meal can be on the table in thirty minutes or less. This soup is quite spicy — use sweet Italian sausage and/or eliminate the red pepper flakes if you prefer more mild heat levels — making it an even better way to warm up on a chilly evening.
Nearly a decade and a half ago, my mom and sister returned from our trip to California with an awful stomach bug. (What a way to start a post on a food blog, right? Sorry if I’ve totally [or partially] grossed you out!) Somehow, our neighbor, Mrs. Nigro, got the news that half of the household was ill and brought over some of her homemade chicken stock. It was nothing short of healing. While maybe not a medically proven fact, the kind gesture and fantastic flavor together did wonders for everyone’s spirits. (The generous salt content restoring those lost electrolytes may have played a part as well.)
This chili is inspired by one that I enjoyed a couple years ago at the Cowgirl Creamery Cantina in Point Reyes Station. I loved that it combined the standard tomato-based chili that I had known up until that point with my longtime love, Chile Colorado. Since I wasn’t a hugely experienced American-style chili eater at that point (I’ll admit, I’m only slightly more so now), it was a bit of a flavor and texture revelation for me — I just had to re-create it at home.
Like any chili, this is a welcome meal on a brisk, fall day — especially when accompanied by a slab of homemade cornbread (or several handfuls of tortilla chips, my preference) and a glass of “leftover” wine.