There’s no real shocker here — avocado pairs delightfully with a rich and meaty chili.
But I decided to pair them in a fresh way that is just right for summer grilling season. Rather than simply whip up a pot of chili and scatter some diced avocado over it, I decided to spoon mounds of chili into pitted avocado halves, top everything with cheese, then pop the entire delicious mess on the grill until melty and bubbly.
The chili in this recipe is intentionally simple and meaty. Of course feel free to substitute your favourite chili recipe, or add to mine as you see fit. But I wanted to keep things simple since this ends up being a two-part recipe — first the chili is made on the stove, then the stuffed avocados are grilled.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound loose sweet Italian sausage
15-ounce can tomato sauce
6 avocados, halved and pitted (leave the skins on)
2 cups shredded Monteray Jack cheese
Sour cream, to serve
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic, then saute for 4 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and cayenne, then cook for another minute. Add the beef and sausage, then saute until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
While the chili comes to a simmer, heat the grill to medium.
With the cut side up, gently press each avocado half against the counter to slightly flatten the bottom to allow it to sit without tilting. Alternatively, use a knife to trim off a thin slice of the rounded bottom.
Once the chili is at a simmer, spoon a heaping mound of it into the cavity of each avocado half. Arrange the filled avocados on a rimmed baking sheet for carrying to the grill. Top each with cheese, then bring to the grill. Carefully set each avocado half on the grill grates, close the grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browning.
Arrange 2 avocado halves per serving plate, then top each with a bit of sour cream and cilantro.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs