As I Fall Down

Yesterday, it was chilly in my part of North Carolina. It was rainy, breezy with a high of 73 degrees F. And I was mad about it. My friends were calling or texting me with, "Oh! Look" or "Can you smell that? That smells like Fall!" waiting for me to match their excitement. I met each and every exclamation with an exclamation of my own.

Then I read Molly at Orangette lament about how the summer has flown by and she has yet to put on a bathing suit. Is it OK to admit that I cried aloud at this statement? I, too, have yet to don my tankini and wade in any sort of water.

Pretending to be severely depressed at this information, I made myself some chili.

As there are wars about how to spell, what goes, what does not, how to serve and how to garnish chili, I am not about to step into that stew pot. In my depressed state, I could care less about all of the above.
Note: I'm not really depressed. Just disappointed that summer is coming to a close in the near future.

16-ounce bags of navy, pinto, and red kidneys were only 33 cents each. Why not? A 1lb package of 97% lean ground Black Angus beef was only $1.37. I always have snippets of veg hanging out in the why not? And there was some left over sausage tomato gravy in the freezer.
This batch rivals the Cincinnati chili made back in March. And that stuff was goooood.

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup kidney beans, dry
1/4 cup pinto beans, dry
1/4 cup navy beans, dry
4 cups water
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 cups water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup sausage tomato gravy)
1/4 cup triple sec
3 tsp Texas Pete hot sauce (or other red pepper sauce. Not Tabasco)

Cover beans with 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Bring heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour. Add water in 1 cup increments to ensure beans stay covered with water. This will vary on the freshness of your beans. Drain.

Heat oil in a stock pot or heavy saucepan. Add onion, garlic, green pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, oregano and triple sec to beef. Sear the meat until it begins to turn gray; drain off excess fat. Add tomatoes, water/sausage tomato gravy and beans and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir in Texas Pete during last portion of cooking time. Taste for seasoning.

NOTE: You can soak your beans overnight if you plan on making chili the night before.

Many beans have enzymes called oligosaccharides and we humans can't digest these when we eat them. The digestion of oligosaccharide-filled legumes fortunately (well...better out than in, I suppose) produces flatulence. Soaking beans beforehand, adding vinegar and any other wives' tale about how to prevent this is false. You can reduce the enzymes, but not eliminate them. That's nature at work, folks.

This post is an entry to Frugal Fridays. Check us out. Jerry's doing great stuff over there--all by the seat of his pants.

Like this post?

About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

Leave a reply

  1. I love a good chili! & if it makes you feel any better just imagine a Minnesota winter compared to a North Carolina winter!

  2. It is still blistering hot here in the ATL and summer ain't going nowhere fast!

    I can't wait for it to cool down so we can begin making great comfort foods like this chili!

  3. Hey there Nikki. I'm so glad you came by my site. Chili, we love chili. Bob makes the best, well next to your's. It does remind us of Fall weather. We've been having thunderstorms and flooding. The so-called El Paso monsoon season. Beans are an excellent frugal food. I love cooking up pinto beans and mixing them into chili, making refried, with chorizo, as a dip, nachos, you name it. So, good chice Nikki my friend. You are such a good cook!

  4. Kat: I don't wanna imagine a MN winter! I HATE cold weather. Winters here are severely mild, and I think it's too cold. We get ice, not snow and sometimes school is cancelled if its too cold (well, that only happened once...but still...)

    Don: Maybe I should move to ATL then. I honestly would rather stand in a plume of fire and brimstone (minus the smoke, of course) than be cooled off. I want the cold weather to stay away until December. I'l be ready for it then.

    Teresa: I love your blog! I can't stay away!

    I need to eat more beans. I need more food to sustain me because I've been working out a lot and beans go a long way.

    You and Bob both are good cooks, too. Thank you for sharing your great recipes.

  5. You can think of chili as very summery, say I. Chili dogs?
    I wish you a happy transition of seasons.

  6. CC: Oh! I didn't even think of that. I don't like hotdogs though. But I'll tear up a few of those wretched veggie ones and pile on heaps of meaty chili.

  7. Oh snap I must have a bowl of that chili! With crumbled-up Fritos in it. And cheese and onions on top. Dang but I have not had a good bowl of chili in forever.

  8. Heather: it'll be like a Frito chili pie from Sonic. You have Sonic up there? America's Drive-In?

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the BBQ flavored Fritos. Spicy, salty, sweet, crunchy, corn-y, and they make your fingers orange. Love it!

  9. I'm in a fairly warm winter right now, and this looks just the thing!

  10. Oh yea - lol...texas pete is the shiznit. You guys have that down here...we don't have that in Chicago - lol. It's good.

  11. Oh no, no, no... chili is winter, winter is cold! I'm with you, Nik, I hate the cold but I have no choice... So I won't be making chili for a few more months yet. Until then, I am clinging desperately to the outside grill! :D

  12. Tom: You're in the southern hemisphere, I presume. Well, happy winter to you! May your Spring be mild.

    Darius: Well, if you see some in a store while you're down South, you need to pick some up. Tabasco just doesn't do it. At ALL. I live in the city where Texas Pete is manufactured. My mom's house is a mere 5 minutes away from it.

    Vicci: I know, I know...chili is fr cold weather. But when the temperatures drop from 98F to nearly 60F, it feels like winter!

  13. I love chili, but I don't want to think about winter foods right now! Although I donned a swimsuit daily on my vacation, I haven't done so since. I need more beach/pool time. I need more sunshine. I need more summer! (Maybe I should just move to a warmer climate?)

    I will definitely keep your recipe in mind when the temperature has dropped for good and I get out of end-of-summer denial.

  14. Rachel: I know, I either. I don't even want to think about the crispness of Fall. I really jumped at the chance to make pretty Spring food and I am not ready to switch gears :(((((

  15. I love the look of that chili and all the ingredients! Mmmm YUM


Post a Comment

Thank you for coming by! Don't make this visit your last!