CHILI AND ITS VARIATIONS
  • 1 pound dried Beans
  • 2 dried red hot chili peppers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina
  • ¼ cup fine chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano
  • 4 cups canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak, rinse and cook beans. Soak dried red-hot chili peppers in hot water to cover for 15 minutes. When soft, remove from water and chop. Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy sauté pan oven medium-high heat. When hot, add onions. Lower heat to medium-low and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for additional 2 minutes. Add bell, jalapeño and dried chili peppers. Continue to sauté for 4 more minutes. Stir in masa harina, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, turmeric and oregano. When well blended, stir in about 1 cup of liquid from the beans and continue stirring to remove any bits from the pan. Scrape contents of sauté pan into beans. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until flavors are well blended. Serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

Variations:

1. For chili con carne: After onions and garlic are sautéed, add 2 pounds of coarsely ground beef, veal or turkey or 2 pounds of very lean beef, pork or venison stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes or 2 pounds game or other rich sausage links. Sauté for 10 minutes or until meat begins to brown. Continue with master recipe.

2. For vegetarian chili: When adding tomatoes, add 6 cups chopped mixed fresh vegetables such as carrots, red bell peppers, celery, squash, hominy and if desired, ½ pound tofu cut into ½-inch cubes.

3. All chili variations may be garnished with one or a combination of the following: crisp tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, shredded lettuce, lime slices and pickled hot peppers.