Where I am from, it’s already chili weather, and it has been for some time. Here in Chesapeake Country, things get off to a much slower, gentler start–unless we have a rowdy hurricane season, which we didn’t, which means we’ve had a long and beautiful fall. But the weather this week–notably cooler and grayer–and that means cozy meals are on the menu.
What’s cozier than chili? Not much. It is the perfect meal. It can potentially be stringently healthy or indulgently comforting. It can suit a vegetarian or satisfy a carnivore. It can use any sort of produce, or none at all. Mastering a good chili, therefore, is an essential culinary skill, and Halloween is the perfect time to master it.
I guess I think it’s important to send the kiddos (and us adults too!) out with a belly reasonably stuffed with soulful warmth. We make chili for Halloween every year, and now the kids expect it and look forward to it. Since Halloween is in just 3 days, its time to start cooking!
I asked several local chefs and foodies for their favorite chili recipes, in hopes that they will inspire you to gather ingredients and make a pot in advance of the big day. They are so good, so tasty looking, that I can’t wait to try them. Here they are. Five of them. Enough to get you through tailgate season at least–and beyond, if you freeze it.
Mike Archibald’s Vegetarian Chili,
Executive Chef, Herrington on the Bay, Rosehaven, MD
I first had this chili just last week at Honey’s Harvest Farm in Lothian. It is so delicious, so soulfully comforting and filling, that I asked Mike for the recipe right away when I got back to the office. I am so grateful he generously offered it to us. His recipe makes enough to feed an army (2 gallons) but I recommend you make it as he wrote it and freeze leftovers for later in the season.
- 6 TB Olive oil
- 2 TB Garlic, Minced
- 2 cup Carrot, diced
- 2 cup Onions, diced
- .5 TB Cumin
- 2 TB Chili powder
- 2 cup Zucchini
- 2 cup Corn
- 6.5 cup Tomatoes, Whole Peeled
- 2 cup Water
- 1 cup, 6 tbl Tomato Paste
- 3.25 cups Kidney Beans
- 3.25 cups Great Northern Beans
- 3.25 cups Garbanzo Beans
- 2 TB DijonMustard
- 2.25 tsp Basil, dried
- 2.25 tsp Oregano, dried
- 2.25 tsp Black pepper
- 1.5 tsp Tabasco
- Heat the olive oil, minced garlic, carrots, onions, cumin and chili powder over medium heat in heavy bottomed pot. Cook until the carrots are just done.
- Add the zucchini and corn and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and mix thoroughly. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the kidney beans, northern beans, garbanzo beans, dijon mustard, basil, oregano, black pepper, and tabasco. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Zach Pope’s Sweet Heat Chili Pepper Puree
Executive Chef, Blackwall Hitch, Annapolis, MD
Zach (folks call him Chef) offered up this recipe, which he says is a flavor base you can use for any chili. “No matter what your chili preference is (beans, no beans, etc.)…this recipe is a fantastic juxtaposition of the sweetness of apples and dried apricots with the heat of chili peppers, creating a fresh, fiery medley,” he said. The fine balance of sweet and heat in this recipe is easily adjusted. If you like spicy, use fewer apples or apricots. If you like mild, use fewer chili peppers and more liquid or fruit.
The puree should be added to the chili after your vegetables or meat are cooked so it can simmer with all of the ingredients. Use as much puree as you need to achieve the texture, consistency and heat you are looking for.
- 1 ½ lb hot chili peppers (Chef uses habañeros)
- 2 apples (any variety)
- ½ lb dried apricots
- 3 each medium sized onions (red or white)
- 1 large carrot
- ½ gallon apple juice or other sweet fruit juice such as pear, mango, pineapple, apricot nectar)
- Dice all ingredients into small pieces. PLEASE protect your skin by using gloves when dicing chili peppers.
- Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover with juice.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until the carrots are tender.
- Carefully transfer contents of the pot into a blender. Remember, it is temperature hot AND spicy hot. Goggles optional…serious splash factor!
- Taste after blending. Add salt if needed.
- If you find it is too hot for your liking, you may add honey, but remember that this puree is an additive to spice up your favorite recipes.
This will yield 2 quarts of hot, flavorful chili puree.
Chef Notes: Even the most avid hot sauce fan would be challenged to use all 2 quarts at once. The beauty of this mix: it freezes easily in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes into sealed freezer bags for use up to 6 months.
Amy Daniel’s Black Bean- Roasted Butternut Squash Chili
Co-owner and Executive Chef, Palate Pleasers, Annapolis, MD
- 4c dried black beans (soaked overnight)
- 2c. canned crushed tomatoes
- 1c. or 4 fresh charred tomatillos (put in oven at 450 on sheet pan, about 5-10 minutes)
- 2 chopped yellow onions
- 2c. (total) chopped red, yellow and green peppers
- 3c. chopped butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 1/2c. olive oil
- 2 tb toasted cumin seeds
- 2tb oregano
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1.5 tb smoked paprika
- 2 tb soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1-2 finely chopped fresh jalapeño pepper
- 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1/2c. fresh chopped cilantro (including stems)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Soak beans overnight. Drain. Put black beans in pot and cover with fresh water and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, sauté the onions, peppers, jalapeño and garlic in the olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add to the pot.
- Toast cumin seeds and oregano in a dry sauté pan (or on a sheet pan in the oven) until you can smell the cumin. Add to pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer until the beans are soft.
- You may need to add water throughout the simmering process.
- After beans are soft, season chili with salt (and extra spice, if you’d like!)
- Shredded Cheese (cojita is my favorite on this
- Chopped Green Onions
- Latino Crema (or sour cream)
- Cholula Sauce
- Fresh Lime Wedges
- Fresh Cilantro Sprigs
Serve on top of brown rice, simple polenta or crumbled cornbread.
Chef Notes: I like to spice this chili up with jalapeño peppers and cholula sauce…and then cool it down with Crema. It’s fairly inexpensive to make, lasts several days and is healthy, to boot!
Ken Upton’s Beef and Pork Chili
Owner, Ken’s Creative Kitchen, Annapolis, MD
“When fall is in the air, one does start to think about dishes like this”, Ken told me in an email. “This recipe is pretty much universal, there is so much flexibility, you could use Ancho Ground Pepper, Spice it up or not, leave out the pork, change the beans etc”.
- 2 # Ground Beef
- 1# Ground Pork
- 1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Smashed, Minced
- 2 TB Chili Powder
- 2 TB Ground Cumin
- 2 TB Chipotle Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 28oz Crushed or Chopped Tomatoes
- Beef Broth
- 4-5 TB Tomato Paste
- 1 Small Can of Red Kidney Beans, Drained
- Sriracha to Taste
On the Side
- Chopped Onion
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Sauté the Beef and Pork in a heavy duty pot with a small amount of Olive Oil.
- Remove meat from the pot with a slotted Spoon, put aside.
- Sauté the Onion and Garlic (add more Oil if necessary) then stir in the spices, add in the meat, Tomato, Tomato Paste and Kidney Beans.
- Add in maybe a cup or two of beef broth (depending the thickness of the chili you desire) simmer for 2 hours.
- Add the Sriracha to taste (or not), I like it spicy.
- Garnish with the Sour Cream, Sharp Cheddar and Onion
Lisa Consiglio-Ryan’s Spicy Bean Chili
Owner, Coach Whole Health Designs, Author Go Clean, Sexy You, Arnold, MD
“I LOVE this chili on Sundays”, Lisa told me. “I’m a big football fan and love the ritual of having something warm to eat while watching the games. I came up with this chili recipe after I became a plant-based eater so I experimented with beans and other proteins to make the perfect meal. The key to chili, in my opinion, is spicy. Always add cumin to give it a kick. AND I can’t forget my favorite thing to add… avocado. Need I say more? (Avocado is the perfect good fat to jazz up your chili recipe)”.
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/4 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. cumin
- 1, 15 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1, 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ ripe avocado, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. cilantro
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, bring oil and broth to a simmer over medium-heat.
- Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in cumin and beans and bring soup to boil. Then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Top with avocado cubes and cilantro.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Diana Love’s Cinncinnati Chili
Crazy-assed writer and reluctant blogger, Annapolis, MD
One of my family’s favorites, this chili has hits of cinnamon and chocolate. In Cincinnati, this sort of chili can be served up four different ways. In our house we just go for broke and load it up. It is served over spaghetti or rice with cilantro and sour cream.
- 2 TB vegetable or olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 2 TB. chili powder
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 TB cocoa powder
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ¼ ts cayenne chili powder (optional)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 TB brown sugar or molasses
- 2(15-oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed under hot water and drained
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add the meat, stirring hard to break up the pieces. As soon as the meat starts to foam, drain the meat over a strainer in the sink. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, translucent and lightly browned, 5–6 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook until fragrant.
- Add the beans.
- Add in the spices, stirring to coat the onion mixture.
- Add in the chicken broth, water, sugar and tomato sauce. Scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan.
- Add beef.
- Turn heat to high until boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the flavors meld, about an hour.
- Serve over starch, such as pasta or rice. Load that baby up and dig in!
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