Just as I was starting to make this chili last night, the house went dark. When the power didn't come back on after close to an hour, you could hear a collective groan from the region, which was hit hard in the December ice storm.
I grabbed a flashlight and went upstairs to get some more blankets, threw them on the bed as best I could in the dark, pulled on my sweatpants and a turtleneck - and went to bed.
This morning, with heat, power, and a sunnier disposition I went to work on what I was now calling Blackout Chili.
It's a colorful chili, made with red or yellow sweet peppers, chicken ( leftovers are fine, otherwise just poach a chicken breast or two and cut into chunks), red and black beans, and a nice broth fragrant with cumin and chiles, rosemary and basil. Often served with a crumble of goat cheese and parsley, you can just as easily serve plain or with scoops of Uncle Ben's - or the traditional shredded cheese and sour cream.
A large, heavy bottomed pot
4 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 onion, large dice
1 yellow or red pepper, seeded and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 fat cloves garlic, pressed
1 T. or more cumin
2 t. chili powder
1. t oregano
large pinch red pepper flakes
1 t. or more basil
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 large can black beans, drained
1 large can red beans, drained
2 cups diced canned tomatoes with juice
1 can chicken stock
1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1-2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. butter ( optional)
Hot sauce ( optional)
Heat the oil in the pot.
Add the peppers , celery and onion and saute. A little scorching is fine.
Add the garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder. Stir well.
Add the beans, chicken stock, tomatoes, oregano, basil, butter, chicken, and rosemary to the pot.
Add the Worcestershire sauce.
Add water to about two inches or so above the chili and turn heat to simmer. Cover pot and check every once in a while, making sure there's enough liquid and the chili isn't burning.
Cook for about 45 minutes.
Taste carefully before serving - it often needs salt, pepper, hot sauce, basil, and cumin.
Serve with rice or crumbled goat cheese, or the traditional cheese and sour cream.
Enjoy - and Happy almost Mardi Gras!