Chili for “Veg-Heads”

Chili. I have never been a fan of chili since I don’t care for beans or tomatoes. But I came into this recipe with an open mind because usually the recipes I don’t think I will like end up being my favorite.

I was so proud of myself because I actually made it to the grocery store before six o’clock. I mean I had to, I was bringing the chili to my friend’s Super Bowl party. On this trip to the grocery store, one of my friends finally agreed to accompany me and help pay for the ingredients. Natalia, you the real MVP girl.

Natalia had never been to any of my usual grocery stores before since she lives in a traditional style dorm. Of course I always decide to cook on the days when Trader Joe’s is the busiest and I was almost certain the craziness of the store would leave her mind boggled. She was a little overwhelmed, but we made it through Trader Joe’s with almost all of the ingredients (FOR ONCE) and only a few head on shopping cart collisions. A little faith has been restored in Trader Joe’s for the time being, not sure how long that faith will last though, guess we’ll find out next week.

Next we went to fairway. I really thought we’d be able to pick up the rest of the ingredients there but they were also out of jalapeños. Now, Trader Joe’s and Fairway I have a question for you: I’m not trying to be jalapeño business but why did neither of you have the pepper I needed hmmmm? Okay, okay, that joke was extremely lame…sorry. So, continuing on we made it to Whole Foods and they thankfully had that spicy little bugger. Finally it was time to get cooking.

We got back to my place and started chopping everything up. I put Natalia on onion duty, and she cried so much it looked like she had just watched the Notebook or something. She pushed through the tears though, and showed that onion who was boss. We sautéed all of the veggies, and let me tell you, if you have never sautéed vegetables before you need to. It smells insanely delicious.

It came time to open the cans of beans, and I personally had never successfully opened a can with a can opener before so I designated that job to Natalia. She was pretty much a pro at opening, even on her first try. I think I’m going to keep her around for all my evoo adventures.

Opening the beans was easy, but opening the jars of crushed tomatoes was another story. I called Adrian over and this week his man power came in handy, unlike last week with the chicken.

We combined almost everything in the pot, but had a few little things left to add:

  1. The refried beans. To whomever first made refried beans…why’d you do it? It is the most unappetizing looking thing ever. Natalia actually asked if we had to mix it in because it looked like cat food. Glad we did not see it once it was mixed in because it just looked disgusting, but made the chili a lot thicker.
  2. The hot sauce. The recipe called for six glugs of it, but this hot sauce splurt out everywhere (is splurt even a word? Whatever, it fits) I only put in three glugs, but I’m sure it equaled out to eight.
  3.  The cumin and chili powder. The recipe called for 1 to 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of each spice. I thought, hey lets just put 1 & 1/4 tablespoons of each in. I like to be exact with my measurements, but the spices weren’t coming out of the bottle so I’m pretty sure like 2 tablespoons of each went in the pot.I kept thinking “It couldn’t be too spicy…right?”

We stirred everything together until it was well combined then scooped the chili into bowls and topped it with scallions and cheddar cheese. Of course we had to get a picture that was instagram worthy, so it took us about 10 minutes to get the perfect picture before we actually tried it.

3…2…1! I couldn’t tell if I was in heaven or hell. It tasted so heavenly but was spicier than hell. No way the devil could make something this good though so it must have come from heaven. I downed that chili so quickly and it filled me up perfectly.

I let the rest of it sit on low heat for an hour because my friend Ashley put together a Super Bowl party next door. I carried the chili over and everyone dug in. They all loved it! A few of my friends are vegetarians so they were extra happy that I made it with no meat. I told them not to thank me, but to thank Rachael Ray. I think it’s safe to say that this chili was the hit of the party. I know what I’m making when my husband hosts a Super Bowl party one day! *wink wink*

I’d have to give this recipe ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts! It truly sparked my love for chili. This would’ve gotten 5 hearts from me if it was a tad less spicy. This chili is a lot better as a dip with chips than in a bowl. I’m not complaining though! A friend told me “You know it’s good chili when it makes your nose run” and that’s exactly what this one did. Bravo Rachael Ray, bravo.

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus





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