Copy Desk Cookoff: Bowling For Chili!

I consider chili a highly educational food. Its flavor gets richer the longer it’s simmered, so it teaches patience. It includes multiple food groups, so it teaches efficiency. Most importantly, it encourages creativity by being easy to customize and experiment with — so I thought I’d create a unique spin on the recipe that allows for plenty of diversity. You’ll need:

One and a half pounds of Mexican chorizo, casing removed

One red bell pepper, diced

One white onion, diced

Four jalapeños, sliced 

One small bunch of cilantro, chopped, with most of the stems discarded

One clove garlic, diced

Corn oil

Two to 15 oz. cans of black or red beans, drained and rinsed

One to eight oz. can of corn, drained

One to 15 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes, not drained

One to 28 oz. can of tomato purée

Optional seasonings: black pepper, red pepper, adobo seasoning, sazón, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, taco seasoning, masa harina

Garnishes: tortilla chips, taco cheese, scallions, cilantro

1. Use some corn oil to brown the chorizo in a large stockpot, breaking up any large chunks that form.

2. Add the fresh produce and canned beans, corn and tomatoes to the chorizo and mix until evenly dispersed. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover it, raise to medium heat and cook until most of the water has evaporated.

3. Add any desired seasonings or add-ins and mix well. If add-ins are used, let most of the water cook out of the mixture before proceeding.

4. Add the tomato puree and stir until well-incorporated. Lower the heat and cover it.

5. Simmer for at least a half hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Garnish and serve when desired consistency and taste is reached. 

Makes a little over a gallon depending on how long it cooked down. For vegan chili, use your favorite meat substitute instead of chorizo, and the grease can be mimicked with a splash of corn oil along with generous amounts of paprika and hot spices.