Chili Whatever, with Carne X Tres

Cooler weather is with us and it’s soup season. Time to break out the enameled cast iron soup pot and get to inventin’.

That’s the fun part of making soups, you can just make it up as you go along. Today I decided to make a batch of chili with meat. In the cupboard I found a small can each of corn and tomato sauce, a regular size can each of black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans. We also had some last of the season fresh tomatoes and some a couple kinds of fresh peppers. For the carne (meat) part I found a couple of frozen hamburger patties, about a third of a pound of mild pork sausage, and a stick of Mexican chorizo.

The carne got thawed and broken up (the chorizo removed from the casing) and tossed into the pot with the beans, the peppers, and some sautéed onion and garlic. Next came the seasonings. Chili powder, Spanish paprika, couple of dried bay leaves, ground cumin, dried cilantro, sea salt, black pepper and a good teaspoon of homemade pineapple-habanero sauce. The finale was a bar of dark chocolate and some ground cinnamon. If you’ve never tried chocolate and cinnamon in chili, do!

Let the soup slowly simmer for an hour or so with occasional stirrings and enjoy. My version was not for the faint of heart but the degree of heat is always optional. To go along with the soup I also made up some homemade corn tortillas using masa harina and a crude wooden tortilla press I recently threw together. Chili and cornbread, regardless of what form it takes, are natural parings. You might also put a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl full. It will help tame the heat a little.

Don’t consider this a recipe since all the ingredients and measurements are always up for grabs. It’s whatever you have, whatever you like, whatever sounds good in your head…that’s the inventin’ part and it never comes out the same. That’s the fun part!

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