It's a sneaky kitchen trick -- and it works.
Last week, I made pasta for dinner one night -- pretty serious pasta, butterfly noodles (farfalle), a 32-ounce jar Michaels of Brooklyn bottled marinara* supercharged with a pound of ground round, a small red onion, a little finely-diced carrot, some fresh red bell pepper and a couple teaspoons of capers. It was tasty, but that's obviously way more than two spinsters can eat.
So I froze the remainder. Two days later, Tam picked up some mild Italian bulk sausage. I browned it with chili powder and chorizo seasoning, then drained the fat and sauteed an onion, another red bell pepper, a few chopped cherry tomatoes and a little celery in the stewpot. Once that was done, I added a small can of green chilis and the (thawed) left-over marinara with a couple of bay leaves, figuring I could put in a small can of tomato sauce if needed, or a can of chili beans. I snipped in three pickled piparra peppers for a bit extra zing. (My chili runs mild; it's easier to add heat to suit your preference at the table.)
Within minutes it was pretty obvious that nothing else was needed. The chili was about thick enough to stand a tablespoon, smelled wonderful and tasted better. The chili powder moves in on the marinara spice profile and makes itself at home, to the benefit of both. We had a fine supper (and there was enough left for the next day's lunch -- but mind that third freeze and thaw cycle, and don't let the chili sit tepid before you freeze it).
The maker of the sauce runs an absolutely first-rate Italian restaurant in, yes, Brooklyn. I won't tell them about making leftover sauce into chili, and please don't you, either.
* One of the best premade sauces I know of. Costs more than the big brands but you can taste the improvement.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
2 years ago