The adventure really spawned two specific ideas: (1) creating chili [and other] seasoning blends for presents this year, and (2) cooking at other people's houses.
Regarding (1), this is of course an unoriginal idea, but I will work on some unique packaging plans to make this a fun project. And (2) is also unoriginal, seeing as personal chefs are a thing. But what about switching up a dinner party routine by exchanging kitchens with friends. It is great to be in your own home and have a meal created before you. As long as you aren't too self conscious about your friends rooting around your kitchen, it's a particularly awesome scenario. The night before we left, I packed the measured, dry ingredients in plastic bags, included uncut veggies, and all our canned goods. We planned to grab butter, milk, sour cream, and cheese upon arrival. Otherwise, everything fit in a single grocery bag that got tossed into the back of our car.
Anyway, Michael is getting really sick of chili, but I am finding it to be a great warm up any day and we only have one to go so I think he is going to make it. Our three bean chili brought color to a rather grey Pittsburgh day with green and red peppers, red onion, and the bean blend. We also prepared crumbly corn biscuits to top the chili per a recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is.
For the Chili:
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the Corn Biscuits:
1-1/2 cups finely ground cornmeal
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1-1/4 cups milk
melted butter for brushing
shredded cheddar cheese
Let's Get Started...
2. As your vegetables soften, begin opening all of the cans. [There are a lot cans]. Drain and rinse the beans.
You can have your chili stew for as long as desired. The corn biscuits will take about 15 minutes to prepare and another 15 to bake. Wash your hands thoroughly before getting started.
4. Preheat the oven to 375.
5. Cut your butter stick into 1/4 inch slices.
6. Measure out your milk and set aside.
7. Combine your dry ingredients and add your butter chunks.
8. Massage mixture with clean hands until it cannot be combined further.
9. Add milk slowly and continue to mix with your hands until ingredients form a soft dough. Add flour slowly if necessary.
Remember to stir your chili periodically.
10. Form the dough into biscuits and place on a greased baking sheet. Or roll the dough to about 3/4 inch thickness and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass.
12. Brush biscuit tops with melted butter.
The chili corn biscuits are filling, but this recipe could easily be adapted to include beef or turkey if you are looking to create an even heartier dish. Our final recipe in the Great Chili Cook Off will be a meaty rendition, but we have not decided on anything yet, so your ideas are welcome and encouraged...!