January brings a shift toward healthier food after the excess of the holiday season. Slow food like soups, stews and homemade chili simmering on the stove while the aroma wafts through the room. For me my mom’s chili is the ultimate comfort food (even though I changed the recipe to my liking many years ago).
According to Wikipedia comfort food “provides a nostalgic feeling and is often characterized by simple preparation”. That describes it for me! I have fond memories of coming home from school and sampling the chili pot bubbling on the stove.
Chili is also easy to make and once you’ve done it a few times you don’t really need a recipe. My mom never had a written recipe but it always had ground beef, canned tomatoes and two kinds of beans. So use this recipe as a guide and adjust it to create your own favourite recipe.
Is Chili Gluten Free?
Chili should be naturally gluten free unless it contains Worcestershire sauce or some other secret ingredient that could contain gluten. Some canned beans could also contain gluten, especially ones that have been flavoured. As a general rule for gluten free cooks buy the basic ingredient you want and just add your own seasoning.
In case your mom didn’t make homemade chili when you were a kid here’s my recipe. It’s so versatile I make it throughout the year. Although it’s a casual everyday meal you can make a party out of it. Chili Cook-Offs are held all over North America every year and you could host your own gluten free Chili Cook-Off.
The Versatility of Homemade Chili
Another reason I love chili is that it freezes well and I can serve it in so many different ways. When I serve chili right off the stove I typically serve it with my homemade cornbread. When I serve it the second time around I wrap it in a corn tortilla like a fajita. If I don’t feel like making salad I can top it with salad-type fixins’ like lettuce and chopped tomato. If I’m tired of green salad I could serve it with a Southwestern Quinoa Salad and it is now transformed into a different meal.
Another favourite is making it into a quesadilla. Sandwich some chili between two corn tortillas with grated cheese and fry it until golden on both sides. Cut it into wedges, add a dollop of thick, plain yogurt and top it with salsa and a sprinkling of cilantro. I don’t think you could categorize chili as gourmet but I know this presentation is why my friends tease me about serving ‘gourmet leftovers’.
You could also serve chili on top of a baked potato but somehow I never think to do that. In warmer weather I make a Nacho Salad and rather than meat with taco seasoning I use my homemade chili. I still add my favourite toppings: lettuce, chopped avocado and tomato, sliced black olives, green onions, cilantro, plain yogurt and a drizzle of chipotle mayo if I have some in my fridge. Yum, that sounds pretty good…even in January.
Let me know how you like to serve your chili.
More Recipes – Comfort Food
|1 Tbsp vegetable oil|
|1 large onion, chopped|
|2-3 stalks celery, chopped|
|1 green pepper, chopped|
|1 lb ground beef|
|8-10 large mushrooms, sliced|
|19 oz can kidney beans|
|14 oz can beans in tomato sauce (or pork and beans)|
|28 oz can diced tomatoes|
|2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)|
|3 Tbsp chili powder|
|1 tsp cumin|
|1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)|
|1/2 tsp salt|
|1/4 tsp pepper|
- Chop all the vegetables.
- Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
- Saute onion, celery and pepper to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Push vegetables to the side making a space in the center of the pot. Add ground beef and cook while stirring and breaking up the meat until it is browned completely.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer, covered, for one hour stirring occasionally.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.