where's winter? thick and spicy chipotle chili

Many thanks to Mother Nature for all the warm and sunny weather for Super Bowl week.  It's the Monday after and we're headed to 50 degrees again with clear blue skies.  Snowdrops are blooming along the woods and my windows are open a bit (heat is off) with Rio watching the world go by.  Where's winter?  Who cares!  So nice to only throw on a cozy Scuba hoodie (a lululemon classic) and go.

Friday after work the weather was fine so Kelly and I grabbed an early dinner on the way and went into Indy for a Super Bowl Village adventure.  Our main objective was to be near the stage to see Fitz and the Tantrums before LMFAO closed out the evening's entertainment.  Not that we don't like LMFAO, we just knew better.  The highlight of our evening happened early hanging out at the ESPN stage in Pan Am Plaza Clay Matthews walked right by us and then we were just feet from Drew Brees, the pride of the Purdue nation.  Awesome.  After a drink at the outside Fire and Ice Lounge we made our way to the stage and found ourselves about 20 yards from the center of all the chaos.  Good Lord.  In the two and a half hours we held our ground (you didn't need to effort standing, you were just held up by the crowd), listened to super annoying drunk people and the really quite good Fitz and the Tantrums the downtown crowd had morphed into over 200,000 spilling down every street.  I've lived in Tokyo, I've been to the track (aka the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and I've never been amongst a crowd that large in such a small area.  Crazy.  After the police directed us down a thankfully brightly lit alley, we pushed on back to our car and drove out of the parking garage into complete chaos, parting the pedestrians and making one lane out of town on a 6-lane stretch of road.  Kelly wondered where her Indianapolis had gone.

Here's a link to an amazing time-lapse video from Friday night courtesy of the Indianapolis Star.  I bet there is someone I know in there somewhere.  Maybe even Kelly and I!
Super Bowl 2012 Friday Night Time Lapse Video

Saturday before heading off to my final volunteer shift at the NFL Experience I cranked out a new chili recipe from Fine Cooking and made the margarita pie from my previous post ostensibly for pictures, but in reality because it sounded so delicious.  The chili had a new twist:  pureeing part of the beans and tomatoes with  the chipotle chiles.  Turns out that's a genius idea.  The chili was quick to make, but very hearty and full of flavor.  For lunch today I toasted a whole wheat bun and topped it with leftover chili like a sloppy joe.  Also very tasty.

But let's discuss that margarita pie.  I have not fixed it in years and why the heck not?  So smooth, cool, refreshing and popular.  Greg and I shared it with the Wedes as we watched all the Super Bowl eve festivities live from Indianapolis of all places.  I'm pretty sure the four of us could have devoured the entire pie if we hadn't just had dinner.  So good.  I  made too much crust, so my crust to filling ratio was off, but as Tammy noted it's impossible to have too much graham cracker crust.  Amen, sister!  So if you make my recipe, note that you may have too much crust so either make the bottom and sides thicker or just enjoy too much!

blurry chili photo

Thick and Spicy Chipotle Chili

3 15-ounce cans beans, drained (I like one can each of black, pinto and light kidney beans)
2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 medium chipotle chile plus 2 T adobo sauce (from the can of chipotles packed in adobo sauce)
2 T olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey (veggie friends, try the soy crumbles)
kosher salt
2 large white or yellow onions, finely chopped
3 T chili powder
1 1/2 T cumin
one lime, juiced
1/2 C chopped cilantro
one ripe avocado, cut in medium dice
sour cream, optional
tortilla chips, optional
shredded cheddar, monterey jack or mexican blend cheese, optional

Rinse and drain all cans of beans in a colander.  Put one-third of the beans, one can of tomatoes with their juices, chipotle and adobo sauce in a food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the beef or turkey, season with 1/2 tsp salt and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula and cooking until meat loses it's raw color, but is not browned (3 to 5 minutes).  Transfer meat to a colander and drain.  Add the onion and 1/4 tsp salt to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring frequently until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, add the chili powder and cumin and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the remaining beans, tomatoes and the pureed bean mixture to the pot along with the meat.  Simmer, stirring to blend flavors for 10 minutes.  Add half the lime juice, half the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss diced avocado with other half of the lime juice, other half of the cilantro and about 1/4 tsp kosher salt (season to taste).  Serve with chili.  I like mine all layered with a few crushed chips on the bottom, chile, avocado topping and a little light sour cream.

Serves 8

one-third of beans, half of tomatoes and chipotle ready to puree

pureed goodness

chili goodness

avocado topping

my bowl (it was the Purdue-IU game that night, no red chili bowls could be used)

lunch the next day (open-faced sandwich variety)


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