Friday, July 15, 2011

Stone Soup Chili

Every culture has their one pot magic dish. If you aren't familiar with the childrens tale "Stone Soup" I'll quickly fill you in. A young man claims to have a magic stone that makes broth. He puts it into a pot of boiling water and tricks people into adding things to the 'soup' until it becomes a hearty stew. And SHAZAM! You've got stone soup.

In America, our stone soup is chili. This American staple is a mish-mash of everything from beans to ketchup. Chili recipes across the country are as varied as the country itself. The recipe used for American expeditions in the 1800's consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, which were pounded together and left to dry into bricks which could then be boiled in pots on the trail.

Nowadays chili is a full fledged industry. Cookoffs and cookbooks revolve around this once low class dish. To honor chili's rise to fame, (and because I promised a friend a vegetarian recipe) today's recipes are Stone Soup Chili and Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins.

You can certainly add ground meat to this recipe as I do from time to time. And every once in a while I throw all kinds of random veggies in there. It is pretty hard to mess up chili, so don't be afraid to get creative.

Stone Soup Chili


15.5 ounce can kidney beans, with juices
15.5 ounce can pink beans, drained (Substitute 1 lb ground turkey or beef if you like.)
28 ounces diced tomatoes
14 ounces tomato sauce
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, julienned
1 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp adobo sauce*
pinch of cinnamon
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

*You can purchase adobo chiles in sauce in the 'ethnic food' aisle of most grocery stores.

If you want to make this in a crock pot, simply saute onions, peppers and garlic (and meat if desired) and toss it all in. Cook on High for 4 hours.

Without a crock pot:

In a saute pan, saute onions, garlic and peppers on high heat for only about 3 or 4 minutes. Just enough to quickly carmelize them. In a large pot on medium heat, combine all ingredients except jalapeno and cheese. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer you let it simmer, the more intense the flavor.

Garnish with jalapeno and cheddar or - my favorite - a dollop of greek yogurt.

Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins


1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup corn
1/2 cup diced jalapenos
3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, butter and egg. Using a rubber spatula, mix in remaining ingredients except cheese. Gently fold in cheese.

Pour into well greased muffin pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

*Don't use paper muffin cups. They will give the muffins a chewy texture and they don't pull away easily.

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