HAPPY NEW YEAR! Is it winter yet??

This weather has been wacky. We haven’t had a good dumping of snow on the east coast since that freak storm in OCTOBER, and temperatures have been high enough to go outside without a jacket. Although the forecast looks like it’s finally going to cool out, I figured I’d urge on winter with a little CHILI… Following the waste not, want not vein of things, I have carefully developed this recipe to simultaneously help you clean out your refrigerator and create a delicious winter meal. My camera is locked up down in Brooklyn for the time being, so – sorry no pictures.

HEATHER’S GARBAGE DAY CHILI

(1)  28 oz can of stewed tomatoes (or two 14s!… whatever you have!)
(4) 15.5 oz. cans of any kind of beans, last time i used kidney,
black, roman, and small red. If you have beans stocked at your house,
just use whichever cans are going to expire sooner. It’s like the
lottery! Which four will win!?
(1) small head of garlic (or 8 – 10 cloves)
(2) medium sized onions
(2) cups morning star veggie grounds meal starter or other protein sub
(the fake sausage is really good)
a potato or two or three and any other veggies you may have in your
fridge that need using.
lots of olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli pepper or red
pepper flakes on hand for seasoning.

Throw a spattering of olive oil in a large fry pan on medium. Chop the
potato into nice dime sized bits and cover in said fry pan with oil,
you want to cook until the potatoes are still a little firm, just
almost to done. Meanwhile, cut up an onion however you like it, big
giant triangle pieces? small tiny diced pieces? It’s your call. Stir
those potatoes, rough ’em up, turn ’em over, toss ’em around a bit,
one side might be getting brown already. yum. Chop up the garlic, in
large healthy chunks, I think garlic presses are for pussies. By the
time you’re done with all that knife work the potatoes might be where
they need to be and you can uncover and add the garlic and onion. Stir
in a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and a few vigorous dashes of both
salt and pepper. Keep an eye on this mixture, poke at it every now and
then, as you start opening cans…
First the tomatoes, don’t drain them! Quarter those suckers so they’ll
be a good size on a spoon, and hence in mouth. Put them in a big pot
(the biggest you have?) on a medium low heat with all the juices, or
if you have a crock pot, put all of it in there on high. Go back to
the fry pan and add your chosen protein “meal starter” to the onion
garlic potato that’s been sizzling next to you. Also if you have any
other veggies to get rid of like peppers, mushrooms, spinach etc. add
them in here now too (chopped to size, duh!) Then back to the big pot
to continue on with the beans, drain their water into the tomato can,
or other vessel, on the side for later. Dump the drained beans in with
the tomato and stir everything up. If you have anything that you
already made that you want to add (for example I had a cup of rice in
my fridge that needed to be used, and some random stir fry veggies
that were already all cooked, you could even use up soup, or pretty
much anything else with vegetables) throw it all into the pot with the
beans and tomatoes! Once the potatoes are tender, top this off with
your hot frying onion/potato/garlic/fake meat/other miscellaneous
vegetable mix cooking away on that burner right there. Is your pot big
enough!? Stir it up, baby. Add a bit of the bean liquid you had put to
the side, just so there is liquid up to the height of all the
ingredients, not deeper. If you don’t have enough bean juice that’s ok
though, don’t worry about it… just go with it!
If you have been doing all this in a crock pot, good for you! It may
take a little longer for the chilli to chill-ify. If you are going the
stove top route you will need to watch your delicious concoction a bit
more carefully. Once everything’s all mixed and heated up a little bit
(5 minutes) give it a taste and gauge what kind of spicy you want. I
traditionally go for 16 dashes of red pepper flakes. If I know it’s a
spicy crowd I’m going to be serving, I’ll just go ahead and add a
fresh jalapeno pepper! wowza! Season to taste.
In an hour or so you will have chili! If you’re a lucky bastard and
have a crock pot, of course you can slow cook this and leave it all
day long to stew on low heat. Stove top people, here is a trick: stir
the stuff with a spatula, scraping the bottom with each stir to make
sure nothing is settling down there on the bottom to burn. If it gets
a little gunky, that’s ok! Just turn it down a notch or two, make sure
the bottom is scraped clear, and stir it all in, it may add a nice
smokiness! This recipe is all about using what you got a rolling with
the punches, so it will come out as a different variation of itself
every time. Variety keeps things fun! And you’ve cleaned out your
fridge!

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