Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adaptions Don't Always Turn Out

Good evening everyone! As Tyler proved last week, you can make a wicked good, classic chili. Tonight, I'm trying another variation of chili. Chili is the type of soup that you could try any one of various options and end up with a great result. Call me obsessed, but I'm bound and determined to find those variations for those non-traditional chili lovers. 

The Recipe: White Bean and Hominy Chili
Original Recipe Found In: Cooking Light, December 2011

What You'll Need:
2 (15 oz) cans no salt added Cannellini Beans (or other white beans,) rinsed, drained, and divided
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 (4 oz) Meatless Mexican Chipotle Sausage, finely chopped
1 1/2 Cups chopped White Onion
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Poblano Chiles, seeded and chopped
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 1/2 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Oregano
2 Teaspoons Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 (15.5 oz) can White Hominy, rinsed and drained*
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced Green Onions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
8 Lime Wedges

*Hominy is a form of dried white corn (typically ground up) that is used for fritters or other southern inspired cooking. We couldn't track down any hominy locally, so we're using white corn meal in its place. 

Note: we are omitting the sausage, poblano chiles, and cumin because we don't really enjoy spicy foods. Obviously you can adjust this as needed.  

To start, mash 2/3 cups of the beans with a fork. Next, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add sausage and saute for four minutes. Add onion, garlic, and poblanos, sauté for six minutes. Add chili powder and cumin, cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 

Add the mashed beans, whole beans, 1 1/2 cups water, oregano, hot sauce, salt, and hominy (or corn meal in our case.)  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the green onions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

The End Result:

I'm sure if I added the sausage, the entire dish would be really spicy. But by omitting it, the dish lost an element it needed.  In hind sight, a mild chorizo or even chicken would have been a good addition.  And also, using the white corn meal made the soup INCREDIBLY thick.  Using the equal amounts of corn meal as hominy made it a viscous mixture. Having never worked with hominy, I was unsure how to substitute cornmeal and opted to use a straight one to one substitution. It should have been at least a third of what I put in.  I think I used 4 1/2 cups more water than what the recipe called for, just to thin it out a smidge, but to no avail.  It was still rather thick.  So my chili ended up being not so much a soup, but more of a dip.  Although, it was quite tasty on crackers.

Sometimes things like this happen. I tried to adapt a recipe and it didn't work. Sometimes you adapt and create an amazing dish - sometimes your chili turns into a dip. We don't claim to be perfect, while we do have a nice record of making recipes work, sometimes we hit a dud. Unfortunately, I always seem to be the one that 'learns the hard way' but that's what happens when you like to take risky recipes. Sometimes they fail. Live and learn and try to take what you learned and make better recipes next time around. 

Tune in tomorrow as Tyler tries his hand at a variation of classic winter recipe. His recipe is just as unique as mine, hopefully he'll have better luck! Until then,


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