This past weekend autumn officially announced its presence with blustery winds and super-cold nights. I had to pull out my heavy comforter and start sleeping in sweatshirts again, and StuKitty took full advantage of the new warm spots on the bed. I figured this was the perfect time for me to make something hearty that would warm me up from the inside, and since this is a bare-bones week for me, what could be more convenient to make than a nice hearty chili?
I love making all sorts of chili varieties, experimenting with this & that. Not only can it be extremely tasty, if done right (meaning w/o too much oil or grease), it can also be a very healthy one-dish meal since it’s packed with fiber and protein. And it’s so versatile! You can serve it with yummy cornbread, with a nice salad, and top it with just about anything – or just serve it by itself in a giant bowl or mug. The best part is that you can make a really great chili without breaking the bank – so long as you have some good spices and some patience for letting it simmer long enough before digging in (as I do… once the aromas start filling my kitchen, I just can’t resist!).
I call this particular version “The Easiest” because there’s really not much work involved at all. Even the most inexperienced cook can make this and it would turn out okay. I used black, red kidney, and garbanzo beans primarily because that’s what I had in my cupboard, but also because I’d been meaning to combine these in something other than a salad. I’d never tried garbanzo beans in chili before either, so I was eager to see how their texture would add to the standard beans usually used in chili. Feel free to mix it up with different beans, and if you want to toss in a 4th or 5th variety, have at it. It can only get better. Lastly, remember spices are key; I tend to make mine explode with flavor because I like that sort of thing, so if it’s a bit much for you, go ahead and tone it down by adding some water or a light broth. You’ll get a soupier chili but it’ll still be good.