I’m a big fan of having people over to watch the Oscars. I’m also a big fan of meals that can be made in large quantities (and vegetarian!) without too much difficulty. Chili is one of those meals for me, which is why I’m a big fan of the Oscars and chili combination.
For the last few years, I’ve rarely strayed from what I like to call The Best Damned Chili I’ve Ever Made. It’s good stuff – really good stuff – but I wanted to try something new. So, for the meat eaters, Jamie Oliver’s chili con carne. Niman Ranch ground beef sauteed with a puree of onions and garlic, then simmered for an hour or two with tomato, kidney beans, and a cinnamon stick, among other things. It smelled amazing and tasted even moreso. For the non-meats, I adapted a recipe from Hooked on Heat, long ago scribbled down in my black book. I couldn’t find veggie crumbles at the store, so I used some veggie meatballs sauteed and smushed up with the onion, tomatoes, beans, and garlic. The flavor wasn’t a knock-out, but it was hearty and delicious.
Everyone has their favorite chili toppings/bottomings – there are “traditional” chilies up to five ways (chili plus spaghetti, shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans). Our friends brought delicious cornbread, cheese, and a killer punch – oh, and an array of desserts IN ADDITION TO our ice creams. I’m disappointed that we didn’t have more leftovers, as I could’ve happily eaten all of this all week long.