Top | The Crabby Cook Cookbook
(recipe, Jessica Harper)
I know that, like Pain-in-the-Ass Minestrone, this recipe has a slightly daunting ingredient list. You're probably already getting irritable, imagining yourself chopping vegetables while the rest of your family happily watches "Dancing with the Stars" and eats popcorn. However, also like the minestrone, this chili is Miracle Food: everyone will eat it. Not only that, they will love it, request it often, and devour it noisily, which makes it worth the aggravation. Plus this chili has the added advantage of providing your group with all kinds of healthy vegetables cleverly disguised as something delicious. I go light on spices here because my husband is anti-spice. Tom is also fiercely opposed to onions, garlic, and red peppers (and about 80 other vegetables). If you live with such a person, do as I do and cook this chili when he or she is not in the vicinity of your kitchen. Ignorance is bliss; they will eat it right up in happy oblivion.
If you have any energy left after all this, make a salad and a skillet of cornbread, and you've got yourself dinner. You can use just one kind of bean, if your family is confused by variety. You also might want to adjust the spices. My family will eat nothing spicy, so I use less (or no) cayenne pepper. And if you don't happen to have coriander on hand, don't go rushing to the market, cursing this recipe and your life; just ditch the coriander. You can also add more chili powder if your family is more adventurous than mine. If you're like me, by the time you're done with this you may be in no mood to chop cilantro. Forget the Garnish Guilt: that stuff is optional.