Sometimes you just need something hearty, a culinary pick-me-up. Winter can be a protracted battle, with a mixed bag of short days, artic temperatures, and menacing snowfall. Not that it puts me off too much. I will say that the nauseating weather that we are currently experiencing presents an exciting battalion of choices. Which shoes will give traction on glare ice with alternating deep snow? Which sweatshirt will afford me the most protection against gale and sub-zero temperatures? Finally, the most important pre-run decision- Is it cold enough to warrant face coverage? While the head burka ensures that my nose and eyelids remain frost free, it completely obscures my spectacular Pancho Villa ‘stash.
The only means by which to survive winter intact, apart from consuming chili, is running through the worst of it. Keeps the mind spring-loaded and body chili-ready. All jest aside, I very sincerely wish I could give you this morning’s majestic view across the frozen lake. Surely, it gave reason to persist. Incidentally, the incredible vista inspired the following chili creation- a (common law) marriage between hearty potato soup and robust chili.
Prepare the seasoned flour mix:
½ C flour
1 T chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t thyme
½ t cumin
Mix in a bowl, set aside
Brown 1 ¼ C chopped ham in a hot skillet, set aside
Prepare vegetable mix by adding the following to a large bowl:
1 C chopped carrot
¼ C chopped celery
1/3 C chopped onions
1/3 C chopped poblano
Pour the flour mix over the vegetable mix, making sure to coat everything well.
Melt 1T of butter in a stock pot.
Add flour-coated vegetable mix and cook over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 2 C vegetable juice and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 1 C half and half, simmer for 5 minutes.
Scoop with a hydraulic shovel. Serve hot.
This was truly a stick-to-your-ribs meal. Fact is, I’ll likely need a spackling knife to remove the potato soup chili lodged in my sternum. That said, it was tasty and satisfying, albeit not the least bit soupy. One ITP member combated the texture issue by plastering the chili into corn tortillas and topping with cilantro. Nice to see the ITP can adapt on the fly. I was surprised that each Panel member gave positive reviews for this recipe. Uber-thick stews are generally not their mug of beans. Apart from pointing out that “soup” is a misnomer, they hurled no further criticism and proceeded to stack their bowls a second time.