Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dark Days of Winter Week 9: Chili

{Dark Days One Pot Meal Challenge}

This week we had a challenge within a challenge--to make a one-pot meal with local ingredients.  I love soups or any meal that can be made in a slow cooker, and we've hit the part of winter where all I want is a hot bowl of soup anyway, so the timing was right for this.

Chili :
( servings)
- 1 pound ground beef (grass fed from Lamb's Quarter farm, a local, family run farm)
- 1 can black beans (an exception I listed in my original post; I wanted to reserve the right to use beans and legumes in my Challenge meals. Plus without beans this would just be meat soup)
- 1 large tomato (organic, local, and hydroponically grown)
- 1 cup bell peppers (harvested from my garden and frozen last summer)
- 1 large onion ( farmers' market)
- 2 cloves garlic (farmers' market)
- 2 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of flour (exception to the local rules, and used to thicken the soup because we excluded cans of tomato sauce for the Challenge)
- Spices and seasonings to taste (cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper--all exceptions under the Challenge rules)

A hot, spicy bowl of chili is a good antidote to a cold winter night. Husband made this batch for the Dark Days One Pot Challenge, and he is the chili master. I'm not just saying that because I have to. ;)  (Seriously, he makes really good chili).  Because this was our local meal of the week, we left out the sour cream and cornbread that would normally accompany a bowl of chili, but it was good nonetheless. Actually sometimes I put a little guacamole on top of my chili to curb the heat. I can't handle spicy food.
Although I mentioned missing the guacamole, sour cream, and cornbread, I really don't mind not having them. This Challenge has certainly made me appreciate the foods that I often have to leave out when making my meals. It has also made me appreciate the fact that I have access to many ranchers and farms who produce grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken. The DC area has many farmers' markets and CSAs, and I've been finding many more local food resources than I thought, especially winter vegetables. I feel very fortunate, especially because my little kitchen garden doesn't produce enough veggies to get me through the winter.

 I also noted above that we left out cans of tomato sauce. I've never canned or preserved anything before, so I didn't have homemade home-grown sauce on hand. I wonder if I could learn to can? This may be a project for the coming summer.


  1. Looks good! I love chili! I put home-canned hot sauce in mine. You should learn to can. I tried it for the first time last year, and I've LOVED having all that 'fresh' stuff to eat this winter!

  2. looks pretty good. We too have the slow cooker on the bubble right now.

  3. Another slow cooker fan. Aren't they great?

  4. I totally encourage you to bust out the canning equipment. Maybe there should be a Light Days of Summer Challenge where we all can and preserve what we can find locally and then eat it during the next Dark Days! If you can make a chili that looks this good, I promise you that canning will be easy-peasy!


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