The Chili That Almost Caused Me to Get A Face Transplant…

I couldn’t wait to post this. I wanted to wait. I wanted to go to sleep. But my mind wouldn’t let me be until I shared the flavor nirvana that is the Chili and Platano Fritos I had for dinner.

But first: Never, I repeat, NEVER, touch your eyes after handling Habanero peppers. Even if 30 minutes have passed and you’ve washed your hands 6 times since.

It will just cause you crippling, seemingly unendurable pain. It will cause you to run through your house half-blind as you trip over your mess until you reach the bathroom sink. It will cause you to question whether you will ever see again as you try to rip your contacts out of your burning, watering eyes with your Habanero contaminated fingers. It will cause you to stand over your sink for 10 minutes blinking into a handful of cold water that seems to be doing nothing to ease your pain.

This is all hypothetical of course. Someone told me this could, y’know, possibly happen if you weren’t careful.  I obviously am always careful when I cook.

This would never happen to me.

Nope.

Anyway…..

Spicy Chili with Goat Cheese & Avocado

2 cans spicy chili beans

1 can black beans

1  can (28 oz) tomato sauce

1 can (6 oz?) tomato paste

4 cloves garlic (roasted)

2 Habanero peppers (roasted and chopped)

1/4 (or so) onion

Spices of your choosing. MY choosing: Cumin, paprika, black pepper, salt (of course), oregano, and 2 bay leaves

OPTIONAL (but highly recommended):

1 avocado, sliced

goat cheese

In a pot add your beans, onions, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and roasted garlic and habenero peppers. I had every intention of posting a picture of the preparation stage with all of my beautiful and colorful ingredients, but I got really excited about this chili and completely forgot. Here’s a picture of some beans.

 

Beans, Beans, they're good for the heart....

Add your spices to taste. I added what I thought I would like, then after letting simmer for a bit came back to taste how it was melding together. I then adjusted accordingly. Set your pot of chili on low, cover, and let simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Don’t forget to walk to the kitchen every 15 minutes to eat a spoonful (or 2 or 3) of the delicious chili as it cooks. This part is crucial. Because I said so.

When it’s done slice up some avocado and crumble some goat cheese on top to garnish. The goat cheese adds a depth and richness that I haven’t experienced with regular ol’ chedda. While Cheddar is a chili go to topping, I would definitely encourage you to forgo the obvious and go for the goat!

 

I want this in my belly.

Now for the Platanos….

Platano Fritos con Mojo:

2 platanos (plantains)

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

1 lime

Oil for frying

Olive oil

My father has been making these for years. They are my favorite side dish, however they usually become my main course because I eat so many of them. This was my first time making them, and they were a tremendous success! I borrowed my friend’s deep fryer for this recipe, but you can use a pot with a few inches of oil as well. First peel the platanos and slice into about 1.5-2 inch slices , slicing at an angle. This measurement is really just a guess…. I sliced them at about the same thickness as the distance from the top of my thumb to my first knuckle, but I realize we all have different sized hands. These slices need to be thick (but not huge), because you will be smashing them later on. Do NOT slice them thin. Don’t do it. I got about 8 pieces out of each plantain….

 

These are not bananas.

Now that THAT’S settled, fry the platanos in the oil until lightly golden, just a few minutes. Take them out and smash them flat – I used the flat edge of a knife. However, be careful if you use a knife – the knife heated up pretty quickly and became difficult to touch after a few platanos were smashed. Place the smashed platanos in a bowl of water. This step is important, not for taste but for texture. If you simply throw the smashed plantains back into the oil they will turn out fine. However, putting them in water makes them POP in the oil, giving you really crispy edges and crunchy pieces that I just love.

Re-fry the now smashed plantains until golden and crispy – just another few minutes. Not long at all! Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.

Quickly mix some Olive Oil, minced garlic, and lime juice (for the mojo) and pour it on top of the hot platano fritos!

 

That's the stuff!

I started peeling the Platanos with 35 minutes left to go in my chili and found that both the chili and platanos were done around the same time – so nothing cooled while waiting. You can also leave the chili on simmer past the buzzer, so there’s no need to feel rushed.

 

P.S. I realize I switched between platanos and plantains multiple times in this post. I call them platanos. To me, they are platanos. Always have been, always will be. However, I feel like I have to call them plantains because, well, that’s their proper English name. It feels awkward when I use plantains but I realize not everyone knows what I mean when I say platano. So I just typed whatever felt natural as I went. Glad we had this chat.

 

 

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3 Responses to “The Chili That Almost Caused Me to Get A Face Transplant…”

  1. You need to revise this post. Don’t use the knife to flatten the plantains, use instead the the bottom of a can of beans. Just place the platano between two pieces of wax paper and squash it moderately flat with the can. Simple and much safer.

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