Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Golden Chili Creation

Once, years ago, I went to a chili fundraiser for Relay for Life.  One of the offered type of chili was "White Chili."  I had never heard nor seen such a thing before.  It looked like chicken and beans swimming in milk.  I didn't try it, but did tell Matt about it when I got home.  At which point I learned that apparently I am the last person in Montana to learn about white chili.

This conversation led us to look up the definition of chili in the dictionary as I was convinced that all chili has tomatoes in it.  Turns out I was wrong.   According to our dictionary, chili can be just about any dish, usually a stew, seasoned with chilies.   (As a random side note that is when I learned about the incredibly cool looking Chile Pine also known as the Monkey Puzzle tree.)

After this exchange Matt told me he was going to make white chili.  I was highly skeptical--highly.  But, oh man, was I really wrong on that one!  It was fantastic!!   I happily ate the leftovers for days afterward--choosing to eat it several days in a row when there were other lunch options available to me.  But, it was not white.  It was brown.  I guess vegetable stock is just a lot darker than chicken stock so even without the tomatoes it ended up distinctly not white.

Regardless of how tasty it was Matt wasn't willing to settle for brown chili.  That was too close to normal, red, tomato-based chili, I guess.  So he tweaked and fine-tuned his recipe.  I was happy to taste-test, as usual.

And in the end we came up with Golden Chili instead of white chili.  Its not brown.  Its not red.  But, its not white either.  It has a nice straw or honey color to it.  And it tastes just delicious.  It has the wonderful spice of chili and the almost salty taste of miso.   It also has a hint of a flavor that I'd almost describe as sour--but in a really, really good way.  Its from the lime juice and wine, I am sure.  It triggers some sort of salivary response in the mouth near the mandible joint when I eat it.  Its pretty crazy, actually.  Matt likes it, but I can't get enough of it.  In fact, I suggested we eat it for breakfast this morning--which we did.

Golden Chili
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 C white wine
8 C chickpea miso broth (1/2 T per cup water)
4 T lime juice
2 T cumin
2 T chili powder
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
2 t hot sauce
1/2 t salt
1 C frozen corn
4 C white beans, cooked

Saute onion in oil for a few minutes, until starting to get tender.  
Add in garlic and cook another minute or two.
Add remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly 
Let simmer 10-20 minutes.

We found that chickpea miso makes for a nice, light, golden broth to use in this chili.  Other light misos will also work just fine.  However, since this chili contains miso it should just be heated through and not be brought to boil because the high heat will kill the beneficial enzymes in the miso.  Of course, if you're not worried about the importance of enzymes this point is not so much of a concern.

I have yet to take a photo of this lovely concoction that does it justice though.  I have tried.  The beans and corn tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl and so it just looks like golden broth flecked with contrasting bits of red peppers.   So, you will just have to use your imagination, I guess....or give the recipe a try.

I've still never had a truly white chili.  But, I can live with that.

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