Take it from someone who uses recipes like a cane as she limps her way through the kitchen: you don’t need a recipe to make chili. It’s just a mishmosh of ingredients thrown into a pot and cooked down until the feeling’s right.
It’s meant to be flexible and unfussy. Sometimes I brown some beef, sometimes I pour in a little beer. Lately I’ve been adding a can of pumpkin and loving it.
Tonight’s unscripted chili was a collaborative effort, pulled together by loved ones who unknowingly donated to this gigantic pot of food on my stove. Blame it on New York rent prices, blame it on the shitty economy, blame it on the fact that I have an English degree and made the silly decision to work at a non-profit and, you know, help people — no matter how you look at it, at best, cash is tight right now, and there’s nothing like a big bowl of chili to nourish me from the inside out.
-Peppers, tomatoes, and beer from a friend who took pity on my desolate fridge, the interior of which could be used as a stunt double in Ghostbusters.
-Cannellini beans from my sister.
-Hot sauce, a gift from my last birthday. I used half the bottle.
-An onion and garlic I borrowed from the Roommate. When you’re roommates, it’s borrowing.
-Canned pumpkin, purchased by the Roommate after Trader Joe’s inexplicably didn’t have any. (Way to let me down, TJ’s. I’ll just take my very cheap wine and be on my way, thankyouverymuch.)
-Packets of Sazon seasoning that originally belonged to an ex-boyfriend. I’m not sure how they ended up in my kitchen. Consider it alimony.
-A can of tomato sauce I stole from my mother the last time I was upstate. When I ‘fessed up, she said, in typical Mom fashion, “Oh, honey, I’m happy you took it! I was thinking that we had too much tomato sauce in the pantry anyway.”
Directions: while wearing yoga pants and an old sweatshirt, mix all ingredients together on stove top until they resemble chili. Serve over an old potato you found in the street. Recession, what now?
Footnote: I clearly need professional aid when decanting chili in freezer-friendly Tupperware containers, because the mess I made makes it look like I just murdered a Chihuahua. Which I would never do, because I am a dog-lover. Even of those stupid small ones. Mostly.