In what I can only explain as amazing luck, I spent a good chunk of my teenage years photographing and interviewing my favorite rock bands. I got pretty good at hiding my overwhelming joy at meeting some of the most popular acts of the early 2000s. There’s no better way to lose your cool factor then by squealing “OMG I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN” to the famous person in front of you.
But guys, I almost lost it a few weeks ago when I met Wyatt Riot of “Put it in Your Mouth with Wyatt Riot,” a Portland based foodie video show. I first saw Wyatt’s show about a year ago. I was immediately taken with the hot chubby queer talking about the food of Portland, whether cooked in a restaurant or in his friends’ kitchens. I mean, this guy has the word “CHUBBY” tattooed across his belly. He’s pretty much the coolest of the cool. So when he walked into my apartment, it took every ounce of my self control not to faint from excitement.
When I heard he was going to be in town for a conference, I invited him to my place for some home cooking. Unfortunately the timing was such that I was a) broke and b) super busy getting ready for the Sister’s 33rd Anniversary, so I had to think of something fast, cheap, but still delicious. Also, it was storming like CRAZY in SF that week, so I wanted something to warm us up.
Luckily, I remembered my mom’s kick ass chili recipe. My mom is a genius when it comes to really epic, fast, easy to prepare food- and this chili is the perfect example of her mad skills. I thought I’d bulk it up a bit by making corn bread in a cast iron skillet, but that turned out horribly so I’m going to pretend it never happened and not share the recipe with you (lesson learned, kids: not all recipes on the internet are awesome). BUT the chili! It was amazing! And you can make it vegan (like I did) so EVERYONE can enjoy!
I’m now going to share with you my mom’s super secret chili recipe, so you can also impress your gaymous crush with this awesome recipe (and yes, Wyatt was just as awesome as my expectations hoped he would be!):
2 cans black beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans crushed or chopped tomatoes
1 onion (I used read, but Vidalia would also be nice)
2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, stems cut off, and core and seeds removed, then minced. Do this wearing latex gloves. Because if you don’t you’ll forget you cut chili peppers in an hour and go to rub your eyes. Or worse.
1 package fake meat (either Boca crumbles, or a tube of GimmeLean veggie sausage, crumbled)- This is optional, but a nice addition
2 packages of McCormick’s chili powder. This stuff is really the secret ingredient- you can get it at most mainstream grocery stores (like Safeway) but I got it at the family owned tienda down the street. If you can’t find MCormicks, you can make your own mix with cumin and chili powder. I’d tell you how much, but I do it all by “feel,” so you’ll have to take a risk.
Start by sautéing the onion in a little olive oil at the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed pot on medium heat(thin bottomed pots are ok, too- but there’s more risk of your food burning to the bottom, so be RELIGIOUS about stirring). Add the chilies.
Once the onions and chilies have cooked for a few minutes, stir in the fake meat (if you want to) and cook it a few more minutes. Add the chili powder and stir it in well with the meat and onions for a few more minutes.
Open all the beans and drain and rinse them in a colander. Dump them into the pot along with the tomatoes (juice and all). Stir it allllll together, and add a little water if it’s not the consistency you want. Stir it some more. Seriously, you want all the chili powder, onion and chilies to get nice and mixed in with the beans and tomatoes.
Put a lid on the chili and let it simmer (stirring occasionally) for 20-30 minutes, but no less than 20. This simmering process is what makes all the flavors mix together, so don’t try and get away with a shorter simmering time.
Serve it hot topped with cheese (to un-veganize it), more raw chopped onion, or cilantro. You can also serve it with warm tortillas or corn bread.
It’s even better the next morning topped with a fried egg!