Thursday, January 26, 2006

Recipe: n-Alarm Chili

You can make this chili as hot as you like by varying the value of n. My preference is n=2; that seems to be an acceptable level of hotness for my kids. My husband, however, likes his chili with about a half a pound of grated cheese on top (I'm not exaggerating). He ate the cheese off the top and kept sprinkling on more, and he set such a wonderful example for the kids that next time it's Chili Night at the Organic Baby Farm, I think I'll just serve bowls of grated cheese instead. It'll take much less time to cook that way, and the food won't get wasted.

n-Alarm Chili

1 lb. pinto beans
1 whole onion + 1 chopped onion
2 bay leaves
1-2 lb. ground beef
n dried red chilies (so-called "japanese" chilies)
2 15-oz cans (or 1 28-oz can) diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano

Rinse the beans; soak overnight. Boil beans, whole onion, and bay leaves in sufficient water for 2 hours or until soft. Drain water and discard onion and bay leaves.

Brown ground beef in skillet and drain fat. Chop dried chilies. Add meat and chilies to beans in large pot. Add chopped onion, tomatoes, herbs, and spices. Simmer 15-20 minutes to cook onions and develop flavors.