Ashley McCarry
Upwork Women’s Group
Upwork Family

Secret Sauce Chili

When I was growing up, I remember going to my grandparents’ house to visit. At least once while I was there, we would open a can of chili, heat it up on the stove, and enjoy it. It was usually a quick, last-minute meal after we had been out all day and didn't have time to prepare and cook an elaborate dinner. Nonetheless, I always found it delicious, comforting, and filling.

As an adult, a can of chili is still a favorite for me, but when I have a little time, I like to make my own. It took me a long time to perfect the consistency of homemade chili to be just like the canned chili I remember from my childhood. I finally figured out the hack for getting it just right.

Note: It is a “secret” in that when you’re eating it, you can’t figure out what makes it so substantial, creamy-dreamy, and perfect. It’s not a “secret” as in the method can't be shared. I tell everyone about it. It’s too good not to share!

<span-key>1 can</span-key><span-value>(15 oz) pinto beans</span-value><span-key>1 can</span-key><span-value>(28 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes</span-value><span-key>2 tbsp</span-key><span-value>avocado oil (or olive, if that’s what you have on hand)</span-value><span-key>1</span-key><span-value>small onion (Yellow, white, red? You decide), diced</span-value><span-key>2 tbsp</span-key><span-value>cumin</span-value><span-key>2 tbsp</span-key><span-value>garlic powder</span-value><span-key>1 tbsp</span-key><span-value>oregano</span-value><span-key>1 can</span-key><span-value>(15 oz) black beans</span-value><span-key>1 can</span-key><span-value>(15 oz) kidney beans</span-value><span-key>2</span-key><span-value>large zucchinis, chopped</span-value><span-key>1 cup</span-key><span-value>corn (use frozen to save time)</span-value><span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Optional garnishes: avocado, green onion, shredded cheese</span-value>




The key to this secret sauce chili is all in the first step: blending your strained and rinsed pinto beans with ½ of the fire-roasted tomatoes (this will make your chili the perfect consistency).
Place aside.
Heat up avocado oil in a large pot and add diced onion, sautéing until it is translucent.
Add your blended mix and the rest of the (unblended) fire-roasted tomatoes to the pot with your spices.
Add strained and rinsed black beans, kidney beans, chopped zucchini, and corn.
Stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to let simmer for at least 30 minutes.</span-p>

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Cook It Up:
An Upwork

A Foreword from the
Kitchen of Hayden Brown,
Upwork CEO

I deeply treasure that time around the table with my kids and loved ones. In our household, our kitchen table is a gathering place to share a meal, enjoy each other’s company, reflect on the day and laugh together.

With ‘Cook It Up,’ our Upwork Family Belonging Community has assembled a wonderful collection of recipes that celebrate the rich diversity of cultures we represent at Upwork. I truly enjoyed the personal memories that connect these dishes to the team members who shared them. This is a fun, approachable and sometimes touching look behind the “work curtain” that’s helped me — and I hope will help you — get to know our team even better.

I invite you to take a moment to browse the stories and recipes when you are looking for inspiration, a new way to connect with your colleagues, or just want to try something new. Most of all, I invite you to participate in the celebration of food, family, and life found here in Cook It Up.