Monday, November 24, 2014

Chili Today, Chili Tomorrow

I have a troubled relationship with chili.  I have fond memories of rich luscious spicy bowls of deliciousness, and yet no matter how many of the chili cook-off winners I cook, the results don't measure up to my memories.

My mom made chili with canned kidney beans, hamburger, and Gebhart's chili powder.  I have fond memories, but I was looking for something richer and fuller, something with no beans.  

My friend Maddy, a fantastic cook and the most gracious hostess, introduced me to Chicken and White Bean Chili.  It's fabulous, and I make it often, but just now I'm having a craving for a bowl of red. 

I have invested in a dozen kinds of chili powder, I have cried over countless onions - and I have cried over countless batches of sub-par chili.  

So when I took out some frozen meat left over from a meatball making marathon (hint: use an ice cream scoop to form the meatballs.  And freeze them on a cookie sheet, then dump them in a zip-lock and back in the freezer.  More later on spaghetti and meatballs, I promise.)  

But back to the chili:  It was a bottom of the fridge improv with low expectations.  Onions and garlic, beef and pork.  Chili powder.  Tomatoes from a can. A few weird and wonderful spices. So when it turned out to be the Best Chili Ever, I looked at my notes on the back of an old grocery list and wrote down the recipe.

I'm making it again this week.  For when I get heartily sick of turkey.  And here, thanks to a mild case of OCD is the Best Chili Ever.  Finally.  Now if it would only get cold and rainy again...

Best Ever Beef Chili

I made this with what I had on hand in the fridge and cupboard, and very low expectations…it was fabulous.  The chili recipe I’ve been looking for for years.  Simple, easy, addictive.…

1  1/4 pounds hamburger
1/2 pound ground  pork
1 can crushed tomatoes
butter and olive oil
1 minced onion, any color
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 t oregano
1/2 t cayenne
big pinch allspice
1 1/2 t cumin
1 T chipotle chili powder
1 T regular chili powder 
1 cup water
1  generous  Tablespoon Better Than Bullion beef stock

(Note: Spice quantities are estimates - I shook them out, I didn’t measure...except for the chili powder.  Feel free to adjust them to your taste, but don’t leave something out just because it sounds weird.  You'll need them all, even the allspice.  No cheating.)

Brown meat in olive oil and butter.  Yes, butter.  Trust me.  

Add onion and garlic cook till soft.  Add spices, cook stirring constantly for one minute.  Add tomato, water, BTB beef.  Cook on lowest heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the chili gets dry.  

Serve with grated sharp cheddar, diced shallot and sour cream on the side.


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