There are days when you wake up feeling like a true, creative original. When these days strike, nothing you do seems derivative or reeks of cliché. You are inspired! You wake up to start your day by putting together an outfit for yourself that has that certain je nes c’est quoi communicating the one-of-a-kind energy you know you radiate. That fantastic tune you hum while shaving won’t even be anything you have heard before. You’re making it up as you go! Could a Grammy be in my future? And, as you post away on Facebook and Twitter you won’t even have to rely on Rumi or Oscar Wilde for the oh-so-clever yet drippingly poignant bon mots you post on your wall. There will be no retweeting for you today!
Should you be lucky enough to be at the farmer’s market on one of these originality days you can’t help but be inspired to create all manner of unique flavor combinations with the new and obtuse vegetables nobody else has even heard of. Watermelon radishes? Fingerlimes? Can I put bacon on or in it? You won’t even see the man selling Kale and you certainly won’t be tempted to dump everything you find onto an artisan pizza or toss it with some variety of infant lettuce picked before it has had a chance at a full life. That would be just too cliché for you and jumping on a food fad just isn’t for you. Not today anyway.
Today, however, I wasn’t having one of these days.
Nope. Instead I awoke on this cold rainy morning and the first thing I thought was “today is a good day to make plain old chili.”
And I will blog about it even though I also understand that the internet needs another chili recipe like YouTube needs another cat video or my kitchen needs another piece of All Clad. (This casserole/brasier does looks pretty tempting!) If you Google “chili recipe” you will get over 30 million hits. Take your pick as I will bet you most of them are quite good and more than few of them could even be considered great. Some may even be unique although this is an adjective I wasn’t really looking for when I decided to make chili today. This version, I have to say, may not be unique but it is pretty damn good.
No matter. All of the adjectives I had set out to use to describe this particular chili sounded pretty cliché once I put them into sentences. It is spicy, but not too spicy. Its multiple ingredients all simmer for hours to become one mighty fine entree, serving up both a discernible complexity and a singularity of depth. (Ha!) This is, after all, what a good chili is supposed to do, right? All while being, um, tomatoey. And yes, the house does smell amazing while it cooks on the stove for hours. Just seeing it here on the blog I could lick my screen.
I was thinking of titling this post “Texas Red Chili with Beans” because I do think it fun to see Texans foam at the mouth when you deign to suggest that chili should have beans in it. And I giggled with glee reading the fallout from The Barefoot Contessa featuring Devon Frederick’s “award winning” Tex Mex Chili which not only containing not only 2 cans of kidney beans but also uses basil instead of cilantro. (Where does Ina go from here? Manhattan Clam Chowder with cream?)
Nonetheless, Texans inflicted Rick Perry on us for a few months recently so I think it only deserved that we get to question their judgement on other matters as well. We can put some beans in our chili if we want to Rick! So, reluctantly I decided not to go there with this post as even now,this discussion seems, yes, cliché.
Cliche or not this chili is fantastic. The recipe comes from my most recent cookbook acquisition “Two Dudes One Pan”. The book itself is not new but the recipes therein are timeless (this means cliché but in a nicer said way) and their preparation, being limited to one pan, is certainly appealing to moi. It’s very rare that I thumb through a cookbook where just about every recipe calls out to my personal cooking aesthetic so you will be seeing more from it here soon...when I’m not having one of those days.