An American friend came to visit recently and told my host mother how she had cooked Mexican food for her host family, and all of a sudden I was invited into the kitchen to cook something the next day. I hadn’t had time to go to Tbilisi to try to find proper American/Mexican ingredients, so my recipe options were limited to what I could make with the chile powder and cumin I had in with me and ingredients available in Georgia. So chili it was! I didn’t make a proper Southwest Chile con Carne or an official Skyline chili or anything of the sort and went with my trusty non-recipe for chili that’s more a Southwest-spiced stew with beans, meat and tomato sauce.
I went light on the chili powder for the benefit of my host siblings and grandparents, but put in enough to make me feel like I was making proper chili. We used the traditional Georgian mixture of ground beef and pork, and some formerly fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, and lobio beans, and it all worked out great! We served it topped with sour cream and cilantro (my host mother insisted that fresh cilantro make an appearance somewhere, though she was skeptical about how little salt I added). I was pleased with it, and my host brother (who is a pro at not eating when he doesn’t want to) inhaled his and asked for seconds.