Saturday, October 3, 2009

Carolyn's Willy-Nilly Chili

So the weather has turned and I am so freaking excited because I love, love, love Fall! So I thought I would make some Chili to celebrate the new season.

Now I had never made homemade Chili until a few years ago when we were living in Santa Fe. Remember, this is one of those American dishes that I never ate as a child. But one chilly Santa Fe day, I decided to give it a go. I found a Rachael Ray recipe for crock pot chili and went to town. It was easy to make as most RR recipes are. It came out so well I kept that recipe in the kitchen drawer and when I needed to make chili I pulled it out. So when we moved, it actually got stuffed in the box with the kitchen stuff. It made it to Sylva and I thought I had put it in the drawer for another day.

So the other day when I went to make chili. I went to look for my trusty recipe. I couldn't find it. I looked in every single drawer and found other recipes but not that one. I went online to the Food Network to search for it but Rachael Ray has like 5,000,000 chili recipes listed. WTH? So I wasn't going to be looking through a million pages of recipes so I opted for Plan B: Random Willy-Nillyness (RWN). Yes, more RWN in the kitchen.

I figured that if I stuck to the ingredients I remembered I could make the recipe on my own. So I grabbed some fresh green peppers from the garden, some onions and started sauteing them in a little oil. Then I browned the ground beef and incorporated those ingredients. My problem was what spices to use. So I looked in my spice cabinet and found some chili powder but this was the nuclear chili powder I bought at the Santa Fe Flea Market so I knew I could only use a smidge. I took about 1/4 cup of the chili powder and then added a tablespoon of the real New Mexico green chili powder I also bought in Santa Fe and threw it in. I threw in salt and pepper. I knew it had more ingredients so I searched the cabinet to see what else I had. I grabbed some cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and regular paprika. I also found some garlic powder and onion powder and tossed them in to. I added a can of red kidney beans, a couple cans of diced tomatoes and some tomato paste and let it stew for hours.

After a few hours I tasted it and it was the best damn chili I have ever had. It was better than Rachael's chili! Take that Rachael!! It was spicy but not too spicy, at least for me. Tom loved it. So that is Carolyn's Willy Nilly Chili. Now to see if I can re-create it again without a recipe. See sometimes a little Random Willy-Nillyness in the kitchen is a good thing!


  1. My chili never ever comes out the same either. It's the perfect fall food! Yours looks delicious!

  2. My hubby usually makes the chili. But your version sounds and looks absolutely delicious. I think I'll show it to him and ask him to make it next Sunday. I'll let you know if he does and what we think of it. Mmmmmmmm.

  3. you have an award awaiting you on my blog, stop by and pick it up ;)