By Amanda Bibeau & Jeremy Gratton
We love making hearty chilis! There is something so comforting about a large batch of chili slowly simmering on the stove. Just writing about it, you can almost smell it! Chili is also the perfect meal to clean out your fridge or pantry and the perfect way to get creative and create your own signature dish as it is so flexible and customizable.
Here are our top chili-making tips and a mouth-watering recipe, made from some of the best that Canadian agriculture has to offer.
This recipe will turn your understanding of a chili on its head and prove to you that chili truly has limitless potential!
At the end of the day, a chili is traditionally a ground meat dish in a spiced, tomato-based sauce. There are many debates on whether beans and veggies belong in chili, but we are firm believers that anything goes, even Canadian fruit! We like to swap-out ground pork or beef for rinsed and prepared green Canadian lentils when cooking for our vegetarian friends. Crumbled tofu or your favourite type of beans and chickpeas will also be great!
Spice level of a chili (or any dish, really) is a personal preference. To ensure everyone around the dinner table enjoys their bowl, we suggest moderately spicing your chili and having extra onions, spices and peppers on hand to kick up the heat if needed.
How to serve your chili is completely up to you! Crusty baguettes or garlic bread are always crowd pleasers. We also love using-up those small portions of pasta in the back of the pantry! Looking for something a bit different? Serve your chili on a healthy bed of spinach or even leftover rice. Eat it how you like it– there are no rules here.
Canadian Pear, Sausage, Squash and Chickpea Chili
To get you started on creating your own chili, try this all-Canadian spin on Olla Gitana, a Spanish Gypsy Chili from the region of Murcia, traditionally served in terracotta pots. It features an enticing blend of affordable Canadian canned tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and mint. We have added some substitution ideas at the end. Either way, it is an inspiring and flavourful dish that makes for great, hearty leftovers.
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 cup carrot, finely diced
- 1 cup red potatoes, diced
- Dash of salt
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
- 1 package Chorizo sausage (500 grams), chopped or crumbled
- 1 can (800 ml) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 medium sized pears (unripened, Anjou or Bosc), diced
- ½ cup green beans, cut into quarters
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped mint to finish
- In large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Soften garlic, onion, carrot and potato with salt to sweat.
- Once onions are clear, add butternut squash and Chorizo sausage. Cook until Chorizo sausage is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chickpeas paprika, chili powder and chicken brown to pot.
- Mix well and simmer for one hour.
- After an hour, add diced pears and cut green beans. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
- Ladle mixture into bowl and add chopped mint to finish. Enjoy!
This Canadian Chili just goes to show that nearly anything can be thrown into the chili pot. There are truly no limits: swap-out your favourite squash for the butternut or play around with textures and trade the fresh green beans for peas (fresh, canned or frozen).
Looking for a vegan Canadian chili? Swap-out Chorizo pork sausage for 1 cup of rinsed and prepared green lentils and add a dash of cayenne pepper and chili powder for an extra kick.
Be sure to use unripened Canadian pears in this recipe! If they sit on your counter too long before making this chili, they will turn to mush.