Why I like chili? Let me count the ways
- It seems to be a food everyone will eat, from littlest to senior
- It’s a one pot, all-inclusive meal
- It can feed a lot of people
- It has a wide playing field: turkey, or bison, or beef. No beans, with beans, only beans. Some veggies, no veggies, or lots of veggies (bell peppers, celery, carrot and/or more).
- I’m always surprised at the (sometimes heated) debate, about whether “real” chili should or should not have beans. From a brief tour food sites, my conclusion is that chili with beans or without is a regional thing. Texas? No beans. No. No. No. But I love the superfood power of beans, so although I make many different versions of chili, I make them with beans (white, black, kidney, even lentil).
- Spices and herbs. Spices boost our health, and enhance the sensory enjoyment of our meal. Mhmmm, breathe in the savory aroma emanating from a pot of chili bubbling on the stove, relish the saturated, intense flavors that make taste buds dance. I love food with big flavor. And I imagine the cells of my body absorbing the phytonutrient power of the spices and herbs. Chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, basil, marjoram, oregano are some of the spices and herbs that go into my chili pots.
- Customization: Every one can fix up just the way aha aha they like it:
- chopped green or red onion
- chopped cilantro
- sliced avocado
- plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
- shredded cheddar
- chopped Serrano peppers
- Happy tummies. Loaded with protein and fiber, chili fills our bellies and keeps them full longer
- It’s affordable. Another reason to use beans. Because beans have high protein, it takes less chili to fill us up than many other dishes
- Excellent leftovers to make other meals with
- Sheppard pie with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Tossed into whole-wheat spaghetti and topped with shredded Parmesan
- Mix into Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Chili nachos loaded with fresh tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion
The first weekend of December every year brings Galindo cousins to our house for a gingerbread marathon. A direct link to my beloved mother and continuing her legacy, this my all-time favorite Christmas tradition. Not just gingerbread but real Austrian gingerbread. Not just a gingerbread house, but the witch’s house, Hansel and Gretel, trees and stars, forest animals. But that’s another story. With the tantalizing smell of gingerbread wafting through the house with every opening of the oven, it’s hungry work. And because I want the cookies to make it through Christmas, I must feed our gingerbread elves.
So, I made a double recipe of my Lentil Chili adding ground turkey to one pot and a separate smaller pot without meat for the vegetarian bakers. It’s perfect food, something everyone of all ages will eat, with plenty of leftovers for cousins who miss dinner but will come in and out throughout the weekend to decorate and chat.
When the gingerbread is baked, and we’re a good stopping point with the decorating, we ladle up the chili, get a thick slice of rustic bread, a chunk of cheese, and gather around the table.
I also made a Green and Red Salad (spinach, red cabbage, pomegranate and pumpkin seed). Some ate it first to let the chili cool down, others chose to eat the salad alongside and a few preferred the salad after the chili.
The food nourished our bodies, the chatter and laughter, the companionship and affection fed our souls. My heart brims with happiness, a marvelous and blessed way to start the Christmas season.
Lentil Chili (with or without meat)
For More Empowerment