Sometimes I get a wee bit too excited about things that quite frankly are not that exciting. For example, last night after much cajoling, needling, and downright threatening, our landlords finally installed our woodstove. It has been damn cold here in the boonies of Acworth and I was so thrilled at the source of heat that I promptly started a roaring fire which soon transformed our tiny house into something reminiscent of a Finnish sauna, only without the Finns, the hot steam, or any lashings with eucalyptus branches. In keeping with the sauna tradition I decided to enjoy a nice drink, and while the Finns prefer a cold beer I decided to have some red wine and make some chili for the following day. As the wine dwindled I of course began to make additional dishes, as is customary when I get a bit tipsy. One of these dishes was the ill fated hearth cracker I will soon sheepishly and begrudgingly share with you.
But first lets celebrate my success, in the form of this delicious Cinnamon Chicken Chili. I enjoy my chili on the spicy side but the excessively Caucasian taste buds possessed by the rest of my family warrant some restraint on my part.
Cinnamon Chicken Chili
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups dried kidney beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 large tomatoes, diced or one cup tomato puree
1 beet, diced
1 large parsnip, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4-6 cups water
1 tsp basil
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cups beet greens, chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- In a large stockpot heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the kidney beans, the tomato product and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cook for about 20-minutes or until beans begin to soften.
- Add the chopped veggies and spices and simmer covered for 20 more minutes or until beans become soft.
- Uncover, add beet greens and chicken and simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes.
We served this over nice warm polenta with some cheese. This chili truthfully doesn’t have that much of a bite, and what heat there IS is heavily muted by the root veggies, cinnamon and sugar. If you want some more heat I would suggest roasting a hot pepper like a poblano or adding a hotter chili powder. I wanted to add a nice dark beer in place of some of the water but good dark beer does not seem to last long in our house! The great thing about the chili is that it has an abundance of veggies and vitamins without diulting the chili flavor. I like my chili to taste like chili, not like veggies, you know? This chili has a rich robust flavor and the root vegetables add some additional depth of flavor without adding too much salt. I don’t like my chili overwhelmed by tomato flavor, so this version balances flavor profiles nicely.
Now, by this point I had decided I should also roast some beets and make some gluten-free crackers for Izzie. Were I a bit less wine-saturated I might have realized it is difficult to make crackers WHEN YOU HAVE NO FLOUR. Undaunted by this small but CRUCIAL setback I attempted to make a cracker out of oats.
See the issue? Besides my ineptitude?
I combined the following; oats, hemp seed, flax seed, Italian seasoning, salt…who knows what else. Had I put this in the food processor in order to render it flour like I might have been okay…but I did not. I then added some shortening and water and flattened it into a doughish form, then rolled it out flat on some foil.
And then…I did something that is just bizarre and comical and slightly embarassing.
I put it on the woodstove to bake.
I am not sure why I thought this would work, it’s not like an oven, it’s more like a slow cooking stovetop. And fail it did, melting into this bizarre pile of shortening, spices and oats, like some disturbing sort of savory oatmeal.
I am still going to try to use the crumbs for breading though, I will let you know how that goes.
What was your biggest kitchen failure?