Yes, I did just use the word “frenemy”.
I never really think of salt as being part of a recipe. It’s in there, sure, and I take it pretty seriously in baking. But I can’t remember the last time I actually measured salt into a recipe, whether baked goods or mashed potatoes. You just kinda dump some in, right? That’s looks like a teaspoon, right? Right?!
And sodium freaks me out. There’s so much of it. Everywhere. And it’s not good for you. So I buy low sodium anything they have at the local grocery. I drain and rinse my canned beans because so much of the sodium is in those tasty juices. I often under-season my soups, and if I don’t, I feel like I’m going to die from some sort of sodium overdose. Sodium is scary stuff, and salt… well, we’re not exactly the friendliest.
But I made this chili the other night. It’s adapted from Jennifer’s adaptation of two other recipes, so I’m pretty sure the original recipe is completely unrecognizable now. It went like this:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cans kidney beans
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (I used “petite” so they were smaller)
- 1 can hominy (you could use corn, too)
- 1 bottle of a full-bodied beer (Jennifer uses a stout, but that’s a bit too much for me to ever have around the house)
- 1/2-1 cup of water (to desired consistency)
And I browned the meet with the onion, garlic, and pepper. I added the spices, and then the cans of stuff. Lastly, the beer and the water. And I let it simmer for awhile.
And then I tasted it. And I was not happy. It needed more. A lot more. So I started thinking through which of these spices and how much to add. The chipotle could be good. And chili powder would certainly help. And you know how much I love cumin. And I was about to start throwing in more spices when I saw a note at the bottom of the sheet of paper Jennifer had given me. Salt. She added 2 tablespoons. I opted for one.
But it was a big step for me. I think I often add more spices, when a little salt would be more appropriate. And boy oh boy, did the chili taste better for it. I crumbled cornbread into it. Topped with cheese. Amazing! Try some. For reals.
Also, look at what Rebecca did to my cornbread:
It was amusing at the time. I’m pretty sure it still is.