Here in the US, we‘ve been occupied and entertained by the Winter Olympics, with snow, snow and more snow piling up in our yard. Even though Paris is typically cold and rainy and nowhere as frigid as New York (though OK encountered a rare snowfall when they arrived in January), warming and comforting food is of the moment. Since one of the OK pair eats meat and the other is vegetarian, we thought we’d share a chili that can be made either way. Later we can share a this-way-that-way French soup, but for now we are cheering on the US athletes.
This is a simple concoction that doesn’t require long hours on the stove. Rather, it can be made in about 45 minutes, mostly bubbling away on its own. If I don’t have leftover cooked chicken, I typically sprinkle skinless breast halves with paprika and bake them in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Sweet Pepper Chili, Chicken Optional
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tsp – 1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp – 1 tbsp ground cumin
¼ – ½ tsp cayenne (less to start)
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent fresh)
1 14.5-oz can black beans, drained (or 1½ cup cooked from dried beans)
1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken (optional)
Roasted corn (optional)
Cilantro leaves and chopped scallions
Sauté the onion in vegetable oil over medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add peppers and continue to cook until softened, about 5 more minutes. Add chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne and stir until well mixed and aromatic. Add tomatoes and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add beans and let cook for another 10 minutes. If using chicken or corn, add it to the mixture with the beans. Adjust seasonings and serve with chopped cilantro and scallions. Serve over rice or wrapped in warmed soft tortillas.