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No-Recipe Black Bean Chicken Chili


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Here it is in a bowl with cheese, looking quite delicious

I was trying to get text before the picture, but it’s not letting me move the picture down. I hate not having a real camera…

Anyway, this is a picture of a food experiment I created about two weeks ago. Like the Veggie Mac and Cheese I wrote about recently, I went in without any real knowledge of how chili is supposed to be made, never having attempted to cook it before myself. I don’t remember what gave me the idea. I just thought about the ingredients I had on hand and figured I’d try it out. I’m going to get ahead of myself now and tell you that it turned out AMAZING! I was really surprised by how delicious and chili-like it was. Even though there was a chance it would be more of a soup, I still just felt like trying it, and this was definitely a success.

Ingredients:

apprx. 2 medium chicken breasts (I was using tenders, so I am not sure how it compares)

beefsteak[?] and campari tomatoes

green/red bell peppers

1 can of black beans

1 [amount] of cilantro

1/2-1 lime

Chili powder, smoked paprika, and cajun seasoning

 

Non-Recipe:

To start with, I cooked the chicken. The intention was to put it into the pot shredded, so I had to pre-cook it to the point where shredding would be possible. I pan-fried it in a small amount of oil for a few minutes on a low heat. I wasn’t concerned with making sure they were 100% cooked, as they would cook for a while in the chili itself. As it turned out they were cooked the perfect amount, and once they cooled, shredding them was very easy.

I can’t really remember in just what order I put all the ingredients in the pot, so I’ll just guess… I like my peppers to be a little bit roasted or seared, so I put them in first to cook in a little bit of oil for a few minutes. Then went in the tomatoes, which would need to cook for a while to get stew-y. Soon after went the can of black beans (Goya) and then about two cans full of water, to give it plenty of time to cook while getting to the right consistency. It was about here that the chicken went in as well.

Next came all the seasonings. I used about three tablespoons of chili powder, and it was fairly spicy in the end. I used about one tablespoon each of smoked paprika and McCormick’s cajun seasoning, which I usually use for chicken and sprinkled over fried eggs (so good, really). Plenty of fresh chopped cilantro went into the pot, and some of it stuck to my hands as well. If you want to avoid that, I recommend washing it long enough in advance that it has time to really get dry, because if it’s wet it decides to love your skin.

Stirring often is basically the only thing you do other than adding ingredients to the pot. If it looks like it’s actually boiling, turn the heat down. The order of adding things doesn’t really matter that much, because you cook it all together long enough that all the flavors will combine, and some will be more prominent but what can you do.

Later on in the process I added the lime juice, then had it cook for a few more minutes. Once it looked pretty much like a chili consistency, I decided it was done.

It was really delicious. I’m not just saying this because I want you guys to think I’m having successful cooking ventures. If it had sucked, I would tell you. I was really surprised that it went as well as it did. It tasted awesome both freshly made and as leftovers. It did make me wish I had cornbread, but… oh well. Next time.

I highly recommend making something similar. Go for it! Just wing it! You know how cooking works, you can do it…

 

 

 

Food Evening


Like “Good evening.” but with food.

Dinner tonight was a delicious bowl of leftover chili, made yesterday. I’ll do a full post about making it–that was a true no-recipe experiment! And it worked so well. Most delicious outcome possible. Probably. Anyway. I really wanted some good bread to go with it, so I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home, as it’s the most convenient store on my evening commute that actually carries good bread. They were having a sale on split chicken breasts, so I decided to buy them while they were cheap. They’ve found a nice home in my freezer with the mixed berries, chicken lime burgers, and shrimp. (And ice.) I decided on the durum rolls. I find them delicious. And one of them can make a great breakfast sandwich tomorrow, assuming I can wake myself up early enough to make one. I’m feeling pretty good about my chances, for once…

This past weekend I had a nice little North End experience with my mom. We went full Italian. (She’s half Italian… I’m 1/4.) I had a groupon for Piccola Venezia, where we had been once before. Of course we wanted to go to Little Venice! We were in Venice once about five years ago, and we both felt all nostalgic about it. Piccola Venezia has a great ambience, quite an authentic Italian family feeling. But also like a restaurant. You know what I mean… I had chicken and eggplant parmesan. SO GOOD.

Afterward we stopped at Mike’s for cannoli, although we had them boxed up to take home, as we were extremely full. Then, for the last stop, we stepped into a little cafe called Thinking Cup. It was a little dark but with cool decor, and they were playing a silent movie in the background. Pretty lattes there. I am thinking I will go back there sometime when I can squeeze it in (and have the spending money) and do a more in-depth experience for you. For now I can definitely say that I recommend it, although I don’t know what the crowds are like in general. Might be more crowded during the day.

I would like to close by saying that I’ve been getting SO sleepy by the end of the day lately… even during the afternoon sometimes. My desk chair at work is uncomfortable and it’s hard to feel awake when I can barely manage to sit up straight. What do you think–do I just need a protein-rich snack?

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