Emily Cooks the Web: Chili When It’s Chilly

biscuit4chiliI hurried out to market on Friday morning to get the last ingredients necessary for a massive, slow cookin’ pot of chili. This time around, excited about the lush amounts of produce, I decided to substitute some hearty mushrooms for the otherwise common ground beef. Chili really isn’t that difficult to put together, but I think the most challenging part is figuring out what spices and how many of each to add for that really complex flavor that we all crave in our bowl.

Personally, I enjoy a more smoky, earthy flavor in my bowl of beans. I have discovered the it is important to not muddy the flavor with too much cumin (which I have guiltily achieved before), but rather to evenly balance the nutty warmth of cumin with the smoky taste of chili pepper.

ChiliCloseupAs I sautéed the onions, green pepper, and mushrooms together with some chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic, and oil, I remembered the bottle of Fat Tire (…beer) just hanging out in my fridge. I used the brew to deglaze my pan before adding it to my crock pot. I added a couple handfuls of dried, mixed beans, two cans of smoked tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and started cooking.

My favorite toppings for a big bowl of chili:

  • spicy shredded cheese crushed tortilla chips fresh grape tomatoes
  • sliced avocado cilantro organic sour cream
  • fresh cheddar biscuits diced red onion pickled jalapeños

Here are a couple of my favorite chili recipes: