Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food: Chili Love

Okay, so I have to recant a previous statement.  My previous statement said that I hate beans in any form except green beans.  I lied.  I like a small amount of beans in chili, and oh boy howdy do I love chili.

All my life my mom has made Cincinnati-style chili, and while I have loved the smell of the chili powder cooking away on the stove, putting it over spaghetti with onions and cheese did not appeal to me, and I refused to eat the chili and instead ate spaghetti with cheese on it for many of my growing-up years.

Enter Rosemary.  She is Winston's breeder and has become a dear friend to us.  One day, Joe and I went up to her home to visit her passel of ridgebacks and have dinner.  She had made chili, and I was about to eat it to be polite.  I didn't want to tell this friend who had worked hard to make something delicious for us that I refused to eat chili even though I liked the smell, so I dove in and took a risk.

It was amazing.  I liked it.  Even the beans, though I still think they are the weakest link in the chili-gestalt.

So I decided to make a pot of chili myself.  After experimenting a couple times and researching several NON-Cincinnati recipes, I came up with this recipe that I will use forever.

You need:
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced finely
2 large onions, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained exceedingly well
1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes, not drained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce bottle/can of lager beer (today we're using Heineken)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup beef stock (not broth)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
about 25 grinds of black pepper (from the grinder)
grated cheddar cheese for serving

First, brown the meats together in a pan until they are crumbly.  During this process, feel free to sprinkle the meats with chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper.  No salt though, or the chili will be too salty.

Add the onion, jalapeno, and green pepper, and cook until the onions are translucent but not brown.

Pour in the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer, and beef stock.  Stir.  Sprinkle with the cornmeal and stir in.

Season the chili with the seasonings listed above.

Simmer on the stove for several hours.  Today I am doing about 3 to 4 hours to let the flavors meld.  It's even better if you cook it one day, let it sit overnight in the fridge, and then heat it up the next.  But it smells so good today that I'm letting us have it today.

Serve in bowls covered with grated cheese.  It's also good over brown rice.

Note: this is pretty mild, one-alarm chili, but it's plenty hot for us.  We like mild Indian food, but we don't like our mouths to be on fire.  Instead we prefer richness of flavor and a touch of heat.

Happy Superbowl Sunday!  We are spending it eating chili and studiously avoiding football in all forms, American or otherwise.

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