LUCY BURDETTE: First of all, as a pre-holiday giveaway, I have a copy of the brand new Level Best anthology to give away. It's called RED DAWN and it includes my Key West short story, LAST MANGO IN PARADISE. Leave a comment with your email to be entered in the drawing. Contest ends at midnight on 11/14!
Now to the recipe... Here's the thing. In the past, if I wanted a quick pot of chili, I used ground beef, onion, beans, peppers, a jar of Pace picante sauce, and part of an envelope of chili seasoning. It was fast and delicious, and loaded with sodium. (I'm guessing 3000 mg in the seasonings alone!)
Rather then skip the chili all together, this time I made a different kind. Not quite so easy but if you make the sauce ahead of time, and pop it in the freezer, you can add the beef and beans and seasoning later.
I have been reading a cookbook and blog by Jessica Goldman Foung. Because of a kidney problem she can eat almost no sodium, but she loves to cook and offers many good suggestions.
My sauce is tweaked considerably from her version, but I did love the instructions about grinding the vegetables in a food processor. No peeling tomatoes! No chopping!
Basic everything left in the garden sauce
5 to 6 fresh tomatoes, or one large can diced, no-salt tomatoes
Three carrots, peeled
One red onion
Three cloves garlic
Quarter cup fresh Italian parsley
Quarter cup basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired
2 to 3 green peppers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
16 ounce can tomato paste
Peel the carrots and grind them in the food processor. Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and add them to the carrots. Scrape these vegetables into a large pot and bring them to a simmer.
Next mince the onion with the garlic in the processor, and add the chopped green peppers. (I did these by hand in order to avoid them turning to mush.) Sauté this group of vegetables in a couple tablespoons of nice olive oil. When they are soft, add them to the pot, along with the chopped parsley and basil, the oregano, pepper flakes, and the red wine vinegar. Simmer everything together for half an hour and then add the tomato paste and taste for flavor.
I ended up adding a couple of teaspoons of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt.
This makes a lovely vegetarian spaghetti sauce on its own over pasta, with the addition of some grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
To make the chili, brown half a pound of ground beef and drain the grease. And 1 to 2 tablespoons of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Sauté the spices with the drained beef. Rinse two small cans of beans thoroughly (I used one black beans and one light red kidney.) And the beef mixture and the beans to the tomato sauce. Simmer for another half hour. Serve with grated cheese and onions and sour cream, if desired.
(The sodium count in this version is tomato paste, 75 mg, 1/4 teaspoon salt Kosher, 450 mg, two cans beans, 910 milligrams, and probably less, because I rinsed them well. Those are the amounts in the entire pot--not counting the incidental and small amounts in the fresh vegetables
|Ugly chili picture--we started eating too fast!|
KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but available for pre-order today!
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