Alliteration Chili to Save my Cornbread (Caffeinated Chipotle Chorizo Chili)
This recipe starts with getting takeout. I do that sometimes! We all need a break from cooking, you know. So, we ordered barbecue (if you binge-watch American Barbecue Showdown on Netflix, you will also order barbecue). But I actually hate taking breaks, and naturally decided that not cooking should mean baking. Baking cornbread to be exact. Don't get too excited – the cornbread recipe is not my own, so that's not where I'm going here. The next day, I decided to make chili with that leftover cornbread. I had leftover chorizo too, chipotles in adobo, and beans (I'll eat anything with beans). This was becoming a great plan! It's time for warm, spicy, comfort food anyway.
Here's how it went down:
2 medium heat chorizo sausages, chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1-2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
1 jalapeno (not a super spicy one), finely chopped
a few slices of a spicy chili (or more if you like it hot)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 bunch finely chopped cilantro stalks (waste not, want not friends!)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
1 tsp or so smoked paprika
2 heaping tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo (from a can) with some extra sauce
2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
a good sprinkle of dried oregano
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 28oz can whole tomatoes, crushed
2-3 tbsp strong espresso (looking back, 1/2 cup to 1 cup brewed coffee could work too)
*if you prefer your chili a bit thinner, you can add some chicken or veg stock to thin it out
Thinly sliced green onions
Crumbled feta (any salty, punchy cheese works)
a good squeeze of lime
& of course, thick slices of toasted cornbread!
Start with chorizo in a pot, over medium heat to get some delicious pork fat in the pan. Pork fat helps make your cooked onions better. Once some of the fat is rendering and orange streaks mark the bottom of the pot, time to add onions, carrot, celery, all 3 kinds of peppers, the cilantro stems, salt and pepper (always, always start with salt). Let that soften nicely. No one likes crunchy onions in a finished dish. Add the garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, and paprika and toast your spices. Once that smells nice, add the chipotle chilies and tomato paste. Cook that out until it gets super dark and sticky. Give it a minute or two. Next, add the beans, tomatoes, dried oregano, coffee and more salt and pepper.
Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding more salt or spices as you need. The more the flavours hang out together in the pot, the more delicious it becomes (this is why leftover chili always tastes better). You want the liquid to reduce slightly and the 'raw' tomato taste to cook off. With that said, there is no need to wait for hours. When you're ready to eat, finish with a good squeeze of lime (some sort of acid is important here), all the toppings, a thick slice of toasted cornbread, and you're off.