Monday, September 10, 2012

Chili: Hold the Corn Bread

The annual "Badassachusetts Chili Cookoff" has become an end-of-summer tradition among some friends of mine from college. Chili isn't a strong suit of mine, and I don't usually make an entry, but this year I couldn't resist the chance to force some corn-free propaganda down people's throats (literally), not to mention the fact that taking on a new challenge in the kitchen is getting to be something I really love. I took some guidance from a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen, and I really tried this time to keep track of what ingredients I was putting into the mix, but toward the end there I just started tossing stuff in, so you'll have to improvise a little to get just the right flavor for you, but that's the fun part part, right?


- 1 eggplant
- 2 large white onions
- 5 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 pound ground pork
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 30 ounces canned kidney beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- grated cheddar cheese

Other Things You'll Need:

- cooling rack
- large pot
- small pot
- cutting board
- sharp knife
- stirring spoon
- 3 bowls
- cheese grater
- sieve


1. First, slice your eggplant into 1/4" thick sections, salt both sides, and lay them on a cooling rack so excess water can drip off. While you're waiting for this to happen, dice up your onions, tomatoes, and garlic.
2. Put all the skins and other unwanted bits of the vegetables you just sliced in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Then cover and leave to simmer for awhile. If you already have a bag of vegetable scraps in the freezer, you can add those too.
3. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned.  Add onion.
4. Wipe excess water and salt off eggplant slices, then chop them into small pieces and add them to the pork and onions. Put the diced garlic in the pot and cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Take your vegetable scraps off the heat and pour everything through a sieve into the pot. Stir in diced tomatoes and chili powder. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the beans, salt, and vinegar, stirring. Simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, adding spices to your taste.
7. Serve with a garnish of cheddar cheese.

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