In keeping with the hybrid chili theme, tonight’s offering is cioppino chili. For those unfamiliar with cioppino, it is an elegantly delicious seafood stew whose origins can be traced to San Francisco. While “elegantly delicious” plays well in California, nothing is elegant or graceful in The Chili Country (i.e. our property- that is, once I have finished drafting the secession papers). Cioppino is unquestionably chic with its delicate seasonings and white cooking wine. That notwithstanding, each of us knows deep down (because it’s going to be set to lyrics in our yet-to-be-completed national anthem) that it’d be just plain better if we threw in some chili seasonings, beer, and spicy pickled carrots.
1 T olive oil
1 C poblano pepper, diced
1 C white onion diced
4 cloves minced garlic, mashed
Cook pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2 C petite diced tomato
1 C beer (lager). * Drink the remaining four ounces and then grab another beer.
1/3 C canned spicy pickled carrots (we used Embasa brand)
1T chili powder
1 t Mexican oregano
½ t cumin
½ t celery salt
½ t chopped fresh Thai basil
Bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes, then add
1 C chopped fish (we used Swai again, as it’s hard not to pick on this “Cyrano de Bergerac of the fish world”)
Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes
1 can of clams (with juice) 6.5 ounces
4 oz of small shrimp.
Simmer another 5 minutes
Serve with homemade bundt-style white bread and a nice (though not elegant) salad.
Success. The ITP earnestly praised this chili. Even the most hardened member of the panel (picture, if you will, a juvenile version of Mr. Woodman of Welcome Back Kotter fame) expressed positive feelings toward this dish. I was extremely happy with how it turned out and will make it again. I contend that this is a step up from regular cioppino, which is an already solid dish. Was it good enough to trumpet as the national dish of our fledgling republic? Maybe not, but I will say this- Mr. Woodman Junior is coming back into favor. He may be looking at a plum appointment as our UN Rep., if he continues to play his cards right.