Monday, February 4, 2013

Beanless Quinoa Chili

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, and I am always excited by that, even when the game involves 2 teams that I am not crazy about.  Maybe it's because, regardless of who's playing, I know that there will still be 2 things to look forward to:  the commercials and the food at a Super Bowl party. I don't think this year's batch of commercials where as good as some in recent years but there were still a few that I really liked.  The Budweiser Clydesdale was my very favorite.  Possibly because I grew up around horses and know that particular bond between owner and horse.  It's a special one, indeed.  Another couple of commercials that I really enjoyed were the Doritos goat and the retirement living with the old guy pressing his naked chest to the restaurant window.  Both had me laughing out loud.  As for the food, we stayed home, which means I didn't get a chance to sample anybody else's offerings.  My father-in-law is a bachelor for a couple of weeks, so we invited him over, as well as my husband's aunt and uncle.  Since it was only a small gathering, I didn't go all out with tons of appetizers and food but went with one appie and one main dish.  I made a simple cheesy green chile dip for tortilla chips, and this spicy, beanless quinoa chili.  No one in my family is very fond of beans, but we love the flavor of chili, so I have been making one without for quite a few years.  I usually serve it over rice and we love it that way.  A few months ago, however, my friend suggested trying quinoa in there.  Brilliant suggestion, Michelle!  Thank you!  The quinoa adds the heartiness that it was missing without the beans.  If you have yet to try quinoa, this is a good, first-time recipe because they soak up all that delicious chili goodness.  This ancient supergrain doesn't have much flavor by itself, so it's important to cook it with something that does.

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 1/2 Lbs. extra lean ground beef
1 Medium onion, diced
4 Cans Rotel tomatoes, any variety (I used 2 lime and cilantro, 1 regular and 1 hot with habaneros)
2 - 8 Oz. cans tomato sauce
2 - 6 Oz. cans tomato paste
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 - 7 Oz. can diced green chiles
5 Cups chicken broth
3 Cups water
1/4 Cup jalapeno slices, diced (optional)
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Lawry's Fire Roasted Chile and Garlic (or regular Lawry's)
Black pepper
McCormick Perfect Pinch Southwest seasoning blend
Hot chili powder (optional)
1 1/2 Cups quinoa

As you've probably gathered, this makes a huge pot of chili.  Make sure you've got a large, hungry crowd on hand!

In a large pot on medium heat, brown ground beef with chopped onion and the following seasonings:
1 1/2 teaspoons, each, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and Lawry's.

To the browned hamburger, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, garlic, green chiles, jalapenos and water.

Stir well to combine and break up the tomato paste.

Next add 2 teaspoons of Lawry's, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin; 1 teaspoon chili powder, paprika and Southwest seasoning; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder.  Stir well, again.

Like any good soup, the longer it cooks, the better it will be.  I let mine go for about 3 hours.  Cover and cook for 2 - 3 hours.  Taste and re-season as you go.  I added a little kosher salt to finish it off.
After cooking for about an hour, add quinoa.

Mix thoroughly.

Cover and continue cooking for another hour or two, turning heat to medium-low.  Stir frequently, and add more water and/or chicken broth, if it gets too thick.

The quinoa is done when it has become transparent and the little "ring" has popped.  Serve with a little shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired.