But first things first.
Remember I mentioned doing your own vegetable broth. Well I'm not doing a "Martha Stewart" on you- this is really easy- and cheap- and I love easy and cheap. Most things (rice etc) that are cooked in water taste better if cooked in broth (you could make chicken broth rather than vegetable but is a bit more costly- takes more planning- and I have a lot of vegetarians that eat in my kitchen so I try to keep unnecessary meat out of the food). Most times when the recipe calls for cooking in water- rice- beans- soup- if you add broth it just tastes better. But who is going to haul gallons of broth home for the store (or pay for gallons of broth) unless you absolutely have to. Well- it's not difficult to make your own.
1. Collect all your "old" vegetables on the kitchen counter- it really doesn't make a difference how pathetic they look as long as they smell okay.
The only things you absolutely have to have are an onion, celery, and of course salt and pepper. On a side note- you really need a "go to" cookbook in your kitchen- and my "go to" cookbook is Mark Bittman:
Bittman is a food writer for the NYT and they even let him have his very own blog at:
But more to the point- Bittman suggests that you can improve the taste by roasting the vegetables ahead of time- but that just seems to take this "nothing to it" project and start making it seem like real work.
So I just rinse the veggies- Don't need to cut the ends off etc- just make sure the dirt is rinsed off- because you're going to discard all the veggies in the end and only save the broth- so make it easy.
Put everything in a big pot:
Bring to a boil then turn to low and let it simmer for as long as you wish. It needs at least an hour- but I've left mine on for several hours while I'm doing what ever around the house.
Then let it cool- in the same pot- strain the broth and then divide into plastic bags- I put 2 cups in each bag.
And freeze- it's ready whenever you need it! And it really doesn't make a difference what veggies you use other than the onion and celery- so add the greens- or carrots- or ginger- garlic- cauliflower- bean sprouts- just what ever is looking limp and unloved in your refrigerator vegetable drawer.
But now to:
MAX'S "HAVE IT YOUR WAY CHILI"
First though I need to be perfectly honest that much of this recipe comes from a fall issue of Bon Appetite and is called Texas Brisket Chili- but you can be sure I'm not serving anything that has Texas in the name- nothing- ever- even if it is good. I'm not a particularly forgiving person when it comes to really important things- and well my Oklahoma roots are still very deep- and we just don't like any thing Texas. Why I've driven the better than 3 hours from Norman, Oklahoma to Dallas just to root for which ever team was playing against the Texas Rangers.
So the very first thing I had to do was change the name- And I did.
And then the second thing- I can't just do a "Beef Brisket" Chili- because at our home for any meal of any size there is almost always somebody who is not eating meat- or at least not eating meat that particular day- so I always have to have the "vegetarian option".
Max always likes for me to comment on these blogs and I usually do put in my two cents worth, but in all honesty, this one is all Max. I mean I did eat this chili, a couple of times and it is really good, but in the kitchen she is in charge and I just follow orders. So any thing that I might say about this preparation might be compared to a construction worker commenting about the plans that an architect drew up for a magnificent building. I know my place and that is usually to chop what she says, saute what she wants, and clean up after her so the pots and pans don't get piled up too high. I am the construction worker in this process.
So this is the CHILI that you can do it your way!
In the Meat Pot:
Brown 6 slices of bacon diced. Then add 2-3 pounds of beef brisket cut into bite size pieces and brown these.
Add 1 large onion that has been diced and cook until it glistens.
Add 3 large dried "ancho chilis" that have been softened by soaking in water. Dice these as well before you add.
Add at least 3-6 crushed cloves of garlic- We think more is better!
Add the following seasoning:
1-2 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of coriander, 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
In the Vegetarian Pot:
Soften 1 large onion in at least 2 tbsp of Olive Oil, then add the 3-6 cloves of garlic and the seasoning (1-2 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of coriander, 1 1/2 tsp of salt).
Add 3 large dried "ancho chilis" that have been softened by soaking in water.
Add BEANS- I used kidney, pinto, black- all from can's- I was cooking a whole bunch of chili- so I can't remember how many cans- but I think it was about two small cans of each- so adjust to how much chili you're making.
From now on the recipes are identical- so you do the same thing for each pot- meat or veggie!
Add 1 and 1/2 (10 oz size)cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis to each pot
Add 1 7 oz can of roasted green chilis- you can use hot or mild- just what ever you like.
Add 1 12 oz bottle of Mexican beer- I used Corona.
Cook on top of the stove on low heat for 2-3 hours- or in the oven at 350 degrees if your pan is oven proof and you prefer.
Add 4 cups of 1 1/2 inch chunks of butternut squash that has been peeled and seeded!
Cook another hour- or longer- though if you cook too long at this point you will over cook the squash and it will be mushy.
It's even better the second- or third day- so this can really be made ahead of time- not that I ever do anything ahead of time.
If you'd like you can serve with avocados or cilantro or red onions or Jack Cheese. But we just ate our straight.
Enjoy! Your Way! Or Mine!