A nearby international supermarket was selling a habanero plant loaded with lots of ripe peppers so we scooped it up and bought it. Our plant last year didn't survive the winter, but this time I'll bring it indoors and see if I can manage to not kill it. We picked off all the ripe peppers and froze them except for two, which were roasted in a dry skillet. Those two went into a chili that I made based on Peter's original recipe he concocted a few years back. It was really good and luckily I wrote down the few ingredients he put into it, but it's the roasted habanero chili peppers that make the dish. The velvety heat from the peppers permeates the chili, but doesn't overpower it nor does it cause a caustic sting. A warm bowl of this chili says to me: fall is here.
Makes about 4 servings
500 grams(1 pound) ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 round onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 habanero chili peppers, blackened, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 can,15.25 ounces (432 g) red kidney beans, undrained
1 can, 30 ounces (800 g) whole plum tomatoes, undrained
Salt and pepper to taste
Toast the whole habanero peppers in a dry skillet over medium heat, or on a grill or over a direct flame on a gas stovetop, until they are blackened. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membrane, which are the hot spots. Chop the peppers finely, set them aside and wash your hands. Be careful handling these guys, they can cause skin irritation.
Saute ground beef in olive oil in a large pot until browned. Add the garlic, onions, red peppers, and habanero chilis. Continue sauteeing until onions are soft. Add chili powder, cumin, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and fry for a minute or two more.
Add the whole tomatoes, one at a time, crushing them with your hands as you plop them in. Swirl about a quarter cup of water in the tomato can to get all the tomato juice out of the can and add it to the pot. Pour in the whole can of kidney beans with the water and stir everything together. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and/or sour cream. I like my chili with a little bit of rice on the bottom, Hawaii style.
Note: Make this chili the day before you want to serve it. It's better on the second day and even better on the third day.