Post #430 Chili Stompin’ Good Times

October 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #430 Chili Stompin’ Good Times

A friend recently asked me for the link to my blog post about chili.  She and I both remembered me writing about it.  I searched.  And I searched.  If any of you can find a post about chili, let me know.  I couldn’t find it and neither could she.  There’s a search box on the right.  I’ve mentioned chili many times, but always in conjunction with another subject.  SO!  Guess what this post is about?

When I was 18 and still living in that small Arizona town one winter day (temps reached down to 67 degrees about that time) the power went out.  Mom wandered around the house and finally told everyone that dinner was going to be cold sandwiches since the power was out and she couldn’t cook anything.  We were all in the living room because the wood burning stove was lit to drive off the chill.  I looked at her for a moment and finally said, “Are you for real?  What the heck do you think that is?” while pointing at the stove.  She made a big pot of chili in a cast iron dutch oven on the wood burning stove and said she felt like a pioneer.

I grew up with my mom’s chili.  I hated my mom’s chili.  When I was still in my before teen years, the only way I could eat it was to crumble crackers into it until it was a sludge, wait for it to get cold, then shovel the stuff into my mouth and swallow as fast as I could just to get rid of it.  (In those days, kids ate what was put in front of them or they didn’t eat.)  Later on, when I was old enough to take care of things myself, when mom made chili, I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  She always made the chili too hot and too full of onions.

Once I got out on my own, I never made chili.  But after many years of not having it, I got to wanting a taste of it again.  I bought a can of Hormel chili to put on a hot dog.  It wasn’t too bad.  So I looked up a recipe and found out that the way my mom made chili wasn’t the only way to make chili.  In fact, it wasn’t even the traditional way to make chili.

Chili con Carne, or simply chili, is meat cooked with chili.  That’s pretty much it.

Chili 1

The meat takes on the flavor of the chili, and the chili take on the flavor of the meat.  Typically a touch cut of beef is used and simmered for hours with the veggies and spices until the meat is fall-apart tender and the flavors well aged.  It can be as spicy or as mild as the individual wants it.  Tomatoes are usually added as the simmering base and to impart a heartier flavor.

chili 2

Sometimes beans are added, although some purists believe that chili doesn’t contain beans.  Other spices are added to kick up the spiciness and heat, while some topping can be added to cool things down.

chili 3

I’m going to talk about three ways to make chili that will make wonderfully satisfying pots of chili.

Diabetes Cookbook Chili –

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano (optional)
  • 2-3 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans (optional)
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon each of dark brown sugar and cocoa

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, try to leave large chunks.  Using a slotted spoon, remove ground beef to a bowl.  Discard all fat except two tablespoons.  Heat leftover fat and sauté onion and garlic until onion are clear and sweating.  Do not brown.  Add spices and stir for 30 seconds to bloom the flavors.  Add the tomato paste and allow to cook for one minute while stirring to blend.  Add remaining ingredients in order of list, plus one cup of water.  Stir to combine, then heat to just starting to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1-2 hours until all flavors are combined and chili thickens.  Serve hot or warm with tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.  When cooled and thickened, this can also be put inside flour tortillas, rolled, and heated in microwave to make burritos.

America’s Test Kitchen Chili –

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced canned chipotle (chi-pote-lay) chile in adobo sauce
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, fat reserved
  • 1 3-4 pound chuck eye roast, cut into one inch pieces and fat removed, patted dry
  • 1 medium to large onion chopped small
  • 1 jalapeno stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons yellow corn muffin mix

In a blender or food processor, process tomatoes and chipotle chiles until smooth.  In a large dutch oven or heavy pan, heat one tablespoon reserved bacon fat.  Brown beef in fat in batches.  Add remaining bacon fat to pot and cook onion and jalapeno until softened.  Stir in spices and cook 30 seconds.  Stir in water then add sugar, tomato puree, beef, and bacon.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Cover pot and simmer one hour stirring two or three times.  Remove lid and skim fat from surface if necessary.  Simmer another hour, until beef is tender.  Ladle one cup of liquid into a bowl and add muffin mix.  Stir until smooth, then add back to the chili and stir to combine.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  Serve hot with sour cream and shredded cheese.

My Own Private Chili Bowl –

  • 1 large jar favorite red salsa
  • 1-2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 60z can tomato paste
  • 2-3 pound chuck roast, fat removed and cut to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-2 medium onions, chopped roughly, half cup reserved
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Brown beef pieces in hot oil, remove to bowl.  Cook onion (except reserve) until clear.  Add garlic and cook one minute.  Add spices (not chili flakes) and cook 30 seconds to bloom flavors.  Add tomato paste and cook one minute while stirring.  Add canned tomatoes and stir.  Add beef and salsa and stir to combine.  Add two cups water and stir to combine well.  Heat to boiling, then reduce to simmer.  Simmer 2 hours until beef is tender, stirring ever twenty minutes or so.  Taste and add chili flakes if extra heat is desired.  Add reserved onion and crushed tortillas.  Cook another 45-60 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so to make sure tortilla chips incorporate into sauce and don’t burn.  Serve hot with cheddar cheese, extra tortilla chips, or warmed tortillas.

Conversely, you can make this in the oven or a crock pot by cooking the roast whole covered until tender.  Break it apart with a wooden spoon then add other ingredients and stir to combine.  Cook another hour covered, then stir again.  This way also makes a wonderful filling for tacos.

Ground beef can be substituted for the roast.  Beans can be added but since Partner/Spouse doesn’t like them, I generally don’t.  It’s good either way.

And don’t forget, chili tastes wonderful this way:

Chili Cheese Dog

As always,

Enjoy

 

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