Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cinnamon Chili

I made this soup a week ago Saturday, I think it was, and it just felt so glorious to be cooking again-- chopping onions, frying them to perfection, considering other ingredients and adding them at whim-- that the very process of making this chili fed my soul.

Actually, the process ended up feeding me a lot more than the soup did. There I was, throwing in ingredients left and right, not quite knowing how it was going to turn out, and I thought to myself: hey, I could put in some chili powder. So I did. I put in a lot, because I am used to my roommate's old chili powder, which isn't very potent at all. A little later, I checked the saltiness and discovered that the powder had apparently concentrated on the spoon I was using to stir-- it was pretty hot. Then I discovered that there wasn't a concentration, anywhere; it had been mixed in just fine. I had just made my first accidentally-four-alarm skillet of chili.

It turns out that my dad left some chili powder in the house a few years ago, except that it isn't just chili powder; it's cayenne pepper. My sister said that she keeps waiting for it to get less potent as it gets older, but that hasn't really happened yet. I really, really like the taste of this chili for the first three seconds after I take a bite, but after that the taste is overwhelmed by the burning all over my throat. I have fed the leftovers to my brother-in-law.

Cinnamon Chili
  • 3 onions: chop and fry in olive oil until brown
  • 3 cloves garlic: chop/press; fry in a separate pan of olive oil than the onions are in
  • 1 large can tomatoes (15 oz.?): drain in a colander while you are frying the onions and garlic, then add the drained tomatoes to the garlic and fry them for a bit

combine the onions and the tomato/garlic mixture then add:

  • 1 can (8 oz.?) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • a little bit of chili powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 2 T sugar (I actually used cinnamon sugar, but I would use brown sugar if I were adding them separately)
  • 1 c. raisins
  • the liquid from the tomatoes
  • mushrooms (I used the stems of portabellas, the caps of which my sister had used the night before, and I cut them in to about 1/2" pieces); fry them in your separate skillet, first, until they are brown
  • nutmeg
  • allspice
  • 2 cloves of cloves
  • juice from 1/2 lime
Cook it long enough for the raisins to get fat, and then it's done.

Just for the record, I think that the mushrooms, raisins, sweet spices, and beans-- OK, and the tomatoes-- really are great together. I think that allspice and nutmeg are probably not necessary for the success of the recipe, but I wrote them down so that you (and I) would know exactly what I used. I would skip the cloves if I had to (but if I could, I would put them in).

Also: did I remember to mention in my food snob blog that Thompson Seedless Organic raisins are not only ten times as delicious as regular raisins, but at our local "natural" food store (The Good Earth), they are also cheaper than regular? This is definitely a case where organic is waaay better.

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