Kitchen Sink Chili

My largest complaint, that my local friends just don’t understand, has always been that it is hard to find a wide variety of fresh foods in Korea. There are many meat options, many options for grains, surprisingly many options for beans, many mystery greens that I still have to explore, but finding a wide variety of colors and textures in food just is challenging to do. You can read from last week how I have approached finding different foods but then how do I make my miscellaneous foods into a proper meal?

Throw it all into one pot!

Yep that has pretty much been my solution. I have been trying to take full advantage of the tomatos before they go away for the winter and for me right now that means that I keep ending up with something that looks like chili. So here we go! These are the different ingredcients I have been throwing together. I take whatever of these I have at the time, throw it all into the pot and let it sit on low heat for about an hour. Lets do it!


  • Meat: I prefer ground beef but anything will do, just cut it up either before or after cooking
  • Onions: any and all of them! I have used white, red, shallots, green onions and I usually add equal parts onion to meat
  • Beans and/or lentils: again any kind that you have and want to use will pretty much work well here. I have been using black beans that I have presoaked for 48h (rinse every 8h) and then precooked for about 6h. If I am using lentils I just throw in an extra 1/2c of lentils. Be sure there are not stones in your beans
  • Tomatoes: any kind of tomato works just fine. Be sure to cut them up into pieces before hand so the skins will not be too large. You can remove the skin but why bother. I usually use 4-6 good sized tomatoes per pot for 4 servings.
  • Any other veggies your heart desires: peppers, eggplant (don’t knock it), zucchini or summer squash, corn, garlic (I tend to do 8-10 large cloves for a pot)
  • Seasonings: Salt & pepper of course, and my preference lately has been cayenne and cinnamon (like Cincinnati chili) but you can add in any kinds of flavors you like: basil, tumeric, your mystery blend in the back of the cubbord
  • Water or stock: sometimes I have chicken or veggie stock saved that I will use. I don’t recommend bone broth because it might be too strong in flavor

I start by browning my meat and onions in the pan first. You can use the pot but I didn’t in this photo. While that is cooking I chop up my other veg and set them aside. I always double check my fridge and side boards for any other veggies that I might want to use up. If I have half a carrot or something that is going to go bad I will just chop it up and add it in. Great way to use up some veg that you don’t know what you are going to do with them.

Add meat, onions, and veg to the pot you will be simmering in. Add your beans and lentils. Add just enough water/stock to cover everything. Finally add your seasonings and stir. I cover this and let it simmer for about an hour, checking occasionally to stir it and make sure it is not cooking over the pot. I may add more stock as I go but generally I don’t need to. If your chili is too wet after an hour, continue simmering on low heat uncovered. Be sure to check near the end if you want to add any additional seasonings to taste.

This dish is great hot or cold. Add some cheese or sour cream on top if you are friends with dairy. I myself have been putting some on top of potatoes but it is great by itself as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe and try to make some simple chili at home with whatever is hiding in your house.

Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. For more learning opportunities or to speak one-on-one with Jillian visit The Dancing

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