Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chili: Unveiled

I've posted about chili many times now. First, I confessed my addiction by whipping up a quick, cheater's version during the hottest days of the summer. Then I used the leftovers to top a veggie burger. Then I made another (botched) batch to stuff an acorn squash.

And now, at last, I have a recipe to share with you--a recipe that I can proudly share because I know it rocks. Half the problem with my previous attempts was not the ingredients at all, but the fact that I didn't let it simmer.

Yes. You HAVE to let it simmer. For HOURS. And if you want it to be even better, you'll let it simmer, and then leave it in the fridge overnight, and FINALLY eat it the following day for lunch. In a mason jar.

But that's only if you love yourself. If you hate yourself, then sure: go ahead and eat it as soon as it's all assembled. But don't say I didn't warn you!

P.S. I used Westbrae Organic Chili Beans in this recipe. I don't normally specify brands, or differentiate between organic and conventional, because I feel like those decisions should be left to the individual cook. However, I love these beans because they are a mix of three different beans (black, kidney, and pinto), without the usual chili gravy. This way, I had total control of my chili's seasoning.

Lauren's 3-Bean and Quinoa Chili
  • 1/4 c quinoa
  • 1/2 of a white onion, diced (not finely!)
  • 1 - 15 oz.can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1 - 4.5 oz. can chopped green peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. Blackstrap molasses
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 - 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1 - 15 oz. can Westbrae Organic Chili Beans
  • salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

1. In a large pot, cook 1/4 cup of quinoa according to instructions. Remember, it is better to UNDERCOOK your quinoa for this recipe, since you'll be simmering them later (right??).

2. Cook your onions on medium high heat in some olive oil in another pan for several minutes until they are translucent. Stir them frequently.

3. Combine your quinoa and onions to the large pot, and add the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, chopped green peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, molasses, and chocolate chips. Stir. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

4. Stir again. Add both cans of beans. If your stove is super hot and your chili is practically boiling, you'll need to turn the heat down to low.

5. Taste. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper) as you deem necessary.

6. You could eat it now. But it won't be special. What you should do is let it simmer for an hour. Or at least half an hour. I even put mine in the fridge afterwards, and reheated it the next day. All of this helps thicken it up and make all the ingredients work together beautifully.

You can eat this plain, or top it with cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, chives, or green onions, or serve it with a nice chunk of cornbread. Or, if you're really fancy, you could bake it in a mason jar with cornbread on top. I'm dying to try that sometime.


  1. Why in a jar? Just because, or is there a special reason?

  2. No reason! It just makes it more fun. :)

  3. Just found your blog through Jamie Oliver's site (THAT IS SO AWESOME), and I'm really excited to try this recipe!!