Posts Tagged ‘chili’

27th September
written by Arthur

It’s fall.  You can feel it in the cool air.  See it the color and angle of shadows in the late afternoon.  Smell it.  It’s time for fall comfort food.  On weekend football days (college or pro) I love one pot meals that fill the house with great smells.   Meals I can cook as I can tend to other chores and watch NFL games or half watch college games.  And last weekend I was in the mood for chili.

This is one of those dishes created more from whim than recipe.  Do I want this one to be more meaty?  Heavy on the beans?  Loaded with tomatoes?  Spicy? There are so many variables to play with, but chili is forgiving. As long as the broad basics are there you’re likely to end-up with a satisfying dish.  The following is roughly what I did:

  • 2 medium onions (on the bigger side of medium)
  • 3 celery sticks (Now I can hear some of you say “I don’t like celery.”  Fair.  But included it anyway.  By the end of the dish you won’t know it’s there, but it’s inclusion adds critical flavors.)
  • Four jalapeños
  • 2 or 3 pounds of ground beef (just took a bit chuck out of a family sized pack)
  • A large can of tomato pure
  • A can of stewed tomatoes
  • A large can or two of whole pealed tomatoes.
  • A large can of dark kidney beans, drained
  • A can of white beans, drained  (To some this might be chili blasphemy, but I think adding this bean breaks-up the color leading to a more aesthetic outcome.)

Before doing anything else, I fire roasted the jalapeños by sticking each with a kebab skewer and roasting slowly over the stove’s gas burner until blackened. It may be my imagination, but I fee this process adds just a bit of smoky flavor.

An hour or so later I started cooking the chopped onions and celery. After the onions and celery start to get translucent, I put in the meat. Breaking the beef apart with a spoon as it browned, I added some chili powder and red pepper flakes.  Once the meat was browned, it was time for the canned ingredients.  As the mixture heated, I chopped the now cooled jalapeños (chopping while hot can be a bit painful) and added them to the mixture.  I covered the pot and brought to a simmer.

Then it’s time for football and an occasional stir.  Taste and season as needed.  Don’t worry about breaking down those whole tomatoes.  Over the next three and a half hours they’ll break apart with the just the occasional stirs.

With a little homemade corn bread, this was the perfect fall weather meal.


18th October
written by Arthur

It’s been two weeks since I used the weekend to make a solid amount of food for lunches for the week, so I decided that this latest lazy football Sunday called for a big batch of chili.  Fortunately, on the Key Foods run, I was talked out of making the MEGA batch.  (Thanks Iggy!)  As it was, what I thought would be one large pot, grew to two when it came time to get my cook on.

Since the size of this batch was crazy, I’m just going to talk about the ingredients at a high level. You first start with onion and celery at a 4:1 ratio.  Be generous with this mix, it adds great flavor, but cooks down a lot so start with maybe 1/8 pot worth.  Pour a little olive oil into a pot and cook (stiring regularly) the onions and celery until the onions are translucent and just starting to brown.  Then add some ground meat.  You can really use whatever suits you (beef, turkey, pork, etc.).  I usually just get what’s on sale.  Today I got a big pack of beef and normal pack of pork, again at a about a 4:1 ratio.  As the meat finishes browning, throw in chopped fresh garlic to taste.  Then you need to add tomatoes, you can just use canned stuff–some tomato sauce, some stewed tomatoes, some diced.  Again, whatever is on sale works, but a mix is a good bet.   Next are beans.  Red kidney beans are a must.  You can just stick with these or expand a little into white kidney beans (which add a bit of color) or other similar beans.  For spices, go with some chili power and red pepper flakes.  If you want to experiment with spices, just add them in small amounts.  Chili is a perfect taste and modify as you go dish.

My fun addition to this batch was roasted jalapenos.  You skewer em’ and roast them over an open flame on the stove until they’re blackened.  Let them cool, chop, and add to the pot.  It adds a little smokey flavor, a little sweetness, and a little more spice.

Then you just need to let the pot simmer for an hour and a half or so.  And BOOM.  You have enough chili to feed a hungry crowd for the night game and for lunch through the week.

(Tragically, the Vikings did what they do best against the Bears (aka lose), at least this chili was there to soften the pain.)