Cooking is a learning experience. I thought about making this post like I’m a cooking expert, but I will let you in on a secret. What I am going to tell you is how I plan on making this chili next time. This time my normally awesome chili was not that great. There’s two big things I learned.
The first is, if you’re going to use canned tomatoes find a brand that you can rely on. I bought the el cheapo Topps brand of crushed tomatoes to make this recipe, and I regret it. For one, it tasted funny. For two, it was not crushed tomatoes. It was tomato sauce. I thought maybe I had forgotten what crushed tomatoes are supposed to be like, but Ellen confirmed it. Laaame. Probably the best course of action is to use fresh tomatoes which is something I’m beginning to experiment with but that can take a long time. So from now on I am not going to skimp when it comes to buy canned tomatoes.
Second, cashews soften up when you cook them. It didn’t occur to me that they would. So, I’ve modified the recipe to take that into account. Soft cashews aren’t horrible, but it’s not what I wanted. I wanted a nice, crunchy consistency. Putting the cashews in too early also cooked the flavor out of them.
So one lesson, one minor modification. But that’s what makes cooking fun. If your tastebuds are operational, you can judge the quality of what you’ve made, and you can adapt for next time! Also check out the sweet bowls Ellen’s sister gave her. I need to get some nicer plattering dishes. Anyway!
2 tablespoons vegetable oil of your preference
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 habanero peppers, diced (use gloves if you’ve never cooked with habaneros before)
2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes – I use one can crushed and one can whole but you could do whatever
2 15 oz. cans of appropriate chili beans – if you like beans a lot throw in another can
1 cup TVP (this measure could be off because I just dumped a bunch in by eyeball – it might have been closer to 2)
1/2 a small bottle of Dos Equis
1 1/2 cups of roasted cashews
Put the oil in the bottom of a big kettle. Saute the bell pepper and onion until it’s nice and soft. Now just dump in everything else. Yeah! Dump it!
So, I dump the beans in water and all but some people think that’s a bad idea. If you agree, rinse the beans off and and add, like, two cups of water.
Add cumin to taste! Or not. Ellen thinks it’s just fine without cumin, and I have made some very good cuminless chili before. The kettle before this on that I made turned out really, really good without it. The habanero gives it a good flavor and heat.
Then let it cook for a long time. Like, until the TVP gets soft, but since this is chili if you just put it in a slow cooker and leave it alone it’ll be good.
Before it’s all ready to serve, dump in the cashews. Let the chili cook for another minute or two, and it’s ready.