Scotty’s Skillet: How to cook chili

Scott Powell

The snowy season is upon us again. Or the snowy season was upon us — for a few days, before it realized it had made an early entrance, turned on its heel and made an abrupt, awkward exit like someone who just walked in on their roommate taking a poop: “Hello again, Colorado! I have retur– Oh, sh*t! Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorry!” *Runs out screaming with face pressed into hands*

Despite this hasty retreat, the sense of snowtime nostalgia in last week’s brief winter teaser instilled in me has lingered on, and for the past few days, I’ve been wanting nothing more than to snuggle up in a cozy blanket with a hot mug of cocoa and a Stephen King novel.

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Of course, snuggling up in a blanket with a hot mug of cocoa doesn’t have quite the same effect when it’s 82 degrees and sunny, but these are trivial matters.

Regardless, when the weather is cold, the way it hasn’t been these past few weeks, nothing warms you up better than a nice hot bowl of chili! So, if you’re looking for a tasty, toasty treat to munch on as you brave all this abrasive sunshine, here’s a delicious recipe to try out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 2 pounds meat. As with all of my recipes, I like to keep the protein open-ended. Meat is meat after all. Unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case meat is a bunch of ground-up leaves, nuts and junk squeezed into a slimy tube. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of the greatest foods in the world come in slimy tubes — or perhaps you’ve never heard of microwave burritos? When it comes to chili, ground beef is always the best bet. However, being an obsessive and paranoid consumer of health blogs, I opted for ground turkey this time around. Please, please, hold your applause. I know making lower-fat choices is a major sacrifice that only the noblest, most disciplined individuals are willing to make, but I’m no hero. Unless you’re my heart, in which case I just added like three-quarters of a day to your lifespan, so … I kind of am a hero. You’re welcome, heart. Maybe now you’ll stop pooping out on me every time I try to run on a treadmill.
  • 3 cups chicken stock.
  • 1 (15.5 ounces) can white chili beans. These are canned beans that come pre-seasoned with chili spices — at least, they come pre-seasoned with a mix of delicious chemicals with names like “phosphomonoxide,” “sugrobutirate” and “calciamanatrote” which, when mixed together, create a flavor similar to that of chili spices. They’re absolutely fantastic in that special way that only chemically-enhanced pseudo-food can be, and they cost only less than two dollars a can at most stores. If you’re a nerf who prefers food with “real ingredients” to the scrumptiously cancerous concoctions pumped out by corporations, you can always use plain, non-chlorinated white beans instead.
  • 1 (16 ounces) can red chili beans. See previous note.
  • MORE BEANS! It never hurts to add more beans to anything. So long as you have a fully loaded can of Air Wick nearby to cover your tracks once you’ve finished, you’re set. I always add kidney beans and garbanzo beans. But, as Andrew Lloyd Webber once wrote, “any bean will do,” as long as it isn’t Mr. Bean because Mr. Bean doesn’t actually exist. And, even if he were real, baking him into chili would be illegal. Beans are also high in fiber, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. So, they can add another three-quarters of a second to your heart’s lifespan. You’re welcome again, heart.
  • 1 red onion. You could use a white or yellow onion if you want a subtler flavor, but everybody knows that red is the sexiest variety of onion — so colorful! So, if you want your chili to be hip and in it with the cool crowd, you’re definitely going to want to use a red onion. But if you don’t mind your chili getting beat up in the schoolyard and hung from the flagpole by its underwear, I guess a white or yellow onion would be acceptable.
  • 1 red bell pepper. See previous note.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste.
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans diced tomatoes. Like chili beans, diced tomatoes also come in a variety of delicious, chemically enhanced flavors — including fire-roasted, chili-ready and Italian-style — all of which are packed with plenty of “brachionefrycorolide” to wake up even the drowsiest of taste buds. As always though, if you simply want plain, natural, loser tomatoes in water, this option is available as well.
  • Lots and lots of chili powder! Not too much though. The key here is to add precisely one “lots and lots” unit of chili powder, no more, no less. If you add less, then you’ll just be adding “lots” of chili powder, which isn’t really enough to give the dish the zing that it needs. If you add too much, however, then you would be adding “lots and lots and LOTS” of chili powder, which would just be absurd and could cause your face to melt off “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style, which is never a pleasant experience. So, I repeat, only one “lots and lots” unit here.
  • Lots of cayenne pepper! See previous note on the proper proportioning for a single “lots” unit. And cayenne pepper is yet another food that has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. You’re welcome again, heart.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Lots and lots and LOTS of salt! Please refer one last time to the notes on the proper proportioning for one “lots and lots and LOTS” unit. And don’t worry about all that sodium shooting your blood pressure through the roof. With all the ground turkey, beans and cayenne pepper de-clogging your cardiovascular system, your heart owes you this one.
  • Black pepper to taste.

“It never hurts to add more beans to anything. So long as you have a full can of Air Wick nearby to cover your tracks when you’re finished, you’re set.”

Instructions:

  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet with high sides. Or just use a pot. Metal cookware is metal cookware. Unless you’re a vegetarian. In which case … actually, no. Metal cookware is still metal cookware, even then. Then add the two pounds of meat, and cook until light brown.
  • Drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving a little behind to help soften the fresh vegetables.
  • Add the onions, garlic and bell pepper and cook until soft.
  • Add the beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Season with spices, salt and pepper. Be mindful of your “lots” units. Again, I cannot stress enough how important this is. One misstep, and you could end up like Tony the mob boss in Tim Burton’s “Batman.”
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Take about an hour or so to douse the area around your kitchen and dining room with Air Wick until you can hardly breathe without coughing. Yes, it burns your nostrils, but it’s better than your house smelling like chili toots for the next three weeks.

Scotty Powell can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @scottysseus.