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eHow Video: Down-South Homemade Chili (a.k.a. Chili Jambalaya)

What’s a series on beans without a chili recipe? Rather than sharing a more Western-style chili with black beans, tomatoes, and Mexican seasonings, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to move East and make something with more of a Southern vibe. The result is a mix between a chili and a jambalaya with ingredients found in traditional dishes all across the South, from Cajun spices to black-eyed peas to okra. I am proud of all the recipes in this series but I am especially proud of this one. I even had the chutzpa to make it for my Southern in-laws, knowing full well I was encroaching on dangerous territory (not being a Southerner myself and all), and it received excellent reviews.

This has truly become a favorite meal in our house. It’s also great leftover. I like making a big batch for dinner on Sunday night and then packing the rest for Mr. Goldhouse’s lunch for the next several days. And, of course, it’s incredibly healthful, as kidney beans and black-eyed are both excellent sources of protein, fiber, calcium and iron.

Cajun spice blend:
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 package frozen okra, de-thawed
2-15 oz can kidney beans (3 cups)
1-15 oz can black-eyed peas (1 1/2 cups)
1-15 oz can corn (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
3 cups vegetable broth

1. Prepare the Cajun spice blend and set aside. (Tip: I like to double this and store what I don’t use for this recipe in a plastic baggy. That way it’s all set to go next time I need it.)
2. In a soup pot, saute the onion, celery, garlic and pepper in a tablespoon of water for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Cajun spice blend.
4. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, and then reduce to low and cover. Cook for about 40-45 minutes, or until the rice is done. Stir every 20 minutes and add more liquid if necessary.
5. Once the rice is ready, season with salt, pepper, and more Cajun seasoning as needed.
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