I am all about those one-pot meals. No, I don’t have kids. No, I am not strapped for time. No, my spouse doesn’t demand a hearty meal every night. In fact, she’s the queen of loading a plate full of spinach, adorned by the contents of every strange, half-empty, abandoned canned good from the fridge. She legit couldn’t care less. But me, I can’t eat a sad salad of orphaned chickpeas and microwaved sweet potatoes. I need something more satisfying.
On Sunday night, one of my best pals randomly texted me a link to a New York Times recipe and I realized I already had all the ingredients. That, my friends, is a sign from the dinner gods. They are saying:
“Make this. Make it and ye shall be happy.” Or something like that.
So the next night, I did. And holy crap it was good. I am not one to compliment my own cooking because usually, I’m just following a recipe, so do I really deserve praise? But, holy damn, this is hands down the best chili I’ve ever made and maybe one of the best things I’ve ever made in general.
Disclaimer: The word chili does not get me excited. Honestly, I don’t love chili until it’s smothered in cheese and sour cream. This dish is closer to the flavor of shakshuka and the eggs add an insanely delicious texture.
We actually had snow here in Asheville yesterday so it was a timely choice. Really, all the fates aligned for this incredible meal to go down. When I texted my pal back to thank her for the recipe she actually asked me to send it to her since she doesn’t have a NYT subscription, which got me thinking. I figured most folks don’t have access to that and you’d want to hear my rave reviews, so I am sharing it here!
First, here’s the list of what you need:
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 28 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
- 28 ounces beans (I used pinto)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- Toppings: grated cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips, crackers – go wild!
All simple, pantry staples. Huzzah!
Now, here is what you do:
- First, melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet. Saute the onion with some S+P for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and chili powder and stir that shit till it’s stanky. (The NYT was a bit fancier in their wording, but I feel this better portrays the reality of this step.)
- Add the tomato paste and stir until it sticks to the bottom of the pan and turns rust-colored, about 2 minutes.
- I skipped this step as I hate opening a can of tom paste, using one tablespoon, and letting the rest go to waste. I posted about this on my Insta stories and damn did I get schooled! Apparently I am the only person who didn’t know you can buy TP in a tube!! My mom and a few other OG cooks also said they freeze it. DUH! I bet this chili would have been even better if I hadn’t skipped this, which is hard to even imagine!
- Add the tomatoes and beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it thicken up for about 20 minutes. During this time, smash some of the beans with your spoon. Add the vinegar and more S+P.
- Once your chili is thick enough for your taste, crack the eggs on top. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes for a nice soft, runny yolk. Cook for longer if delicious, runny yolks aren’t your jam.
- I did not do this gracefully, but if yours is thick AF you can make pretty divots and come out with 4 beautifully poached eggs. Mine wasn’t this thick so I just cracked them on top.
- Serve and garnish as you please. We did grated cheddar and tortillas chips and it was divine.
Toasting the spices in the skillet before the wet ingredients are added is the step that I believe makes this “chili” taste so good. It’s really rich and smoky, and the texture of the poached egg is perfection.
Just make it. Make it and ye shall be happy!