One of the dishes that I have loved for a long, long time is chili. My Mom cooks it a few times a year (especially in the colder seasons) and I always look forward to it when she makes it. With many of my friends being amateur level gourmands that frequently offer up samples of their own wares, it was only a matter of time before I started boasting my own branding of the stuff. Of course only a few select number of friends have been able to try it out and now with the new personal blog, I decided to discuss my most recent cooking adventure with the stuff. I hope that you like our take on this concoction.
Before going any further, I wanted to say that this was not at all a conventional chili recipe that used only the typical meat and kidney beans along with a dose of spicy seasoning. In my view of it, chili can be looked at as a bit of a pot luck recipe where anything goes depending on what you have at hand. With this in mind, I decided to try some very different ingredients this time around to see what came of it. Let’s begin with what you’ll need to mix it up.
2 lbs ground chopped meat.
1 mid-sized red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can corn
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 can red kidney beans
1 can white beans
1 can field peas
1 small can tomato paste
5 teaspoons of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
*** I don’t usually use this many different kinds of beans in the regular recipe but for this one wanted to try and see how some other things worked out. I also used Goya as a brand for all of them.
Tools: Medium sized skillet pan. Deep pot. Sturdy wooden spoon.
Get the chopped meat nice and loose and start to brown it in a medium sized skillet pan if you have one. I generally like to coat the pan with a little bit of butter or canola oil but that is up to personal preference. Chop up and stir in the red onion and add in that 1/4 teaspoon of salt for seasoning. Lately I have opted to use sea salt and found that this works out well and is a little better for you in the end. Don’t overcook it of course so keep an eye on this part of the recipe.
Once the meat is browned, drain off as much of the excess water and grease drippings that you can and cover it for the time being. Depending on your love of the stuff, you can use one piece of the garlic clove in this browning process. I didn’t this time around but usually do.
With the large pot ready to go, I drain off any excess waters from the various canned beans, mushrooms and corn that I am adding to the concoction. I also like to rinse them off as well one at a time before adding them to the pot. Before you begin adding each thing to the mix make sure that the shelf life of the item has not passed. It’s better to be safe than sorry. As each one gets safely added to the pot, I use a large wooden spoon to stir it together so it will cook up as a blend as opposed to layers of different things.
Turn On The Flame \m/
The last couple of times that I have made chili, I decided to simmer the beans, corn and mushrooms for a few minutes before adding in the recently browned meat & onions to the mixture. The main reason is because I feel that this cooks off a little more of the water that I recently rinsed these ingredients in. Five minutes is probably more than enough on a simmer level flame, so pour in the meat and onions at this point and stir it up good.
Now add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the can of tomato sauce. I know that this recipe sounds like we are over tomato-izing the mixture, but since I had them in the cupboard, I wanted to use them. I would not regret the decision. With the sauces all on top of the meat and the beans etc, I now add in the five teaspoons of chili powder that the many recipes I have sampled seem to call for. I also use a garlic press to add in about three or four small segments from the garlic clove that I said we would need. Mix that all up and let it simmer cook for about twenty five minutes. You will need to return and look at it from time to time and stir it as you do that. Cooking it on the simmer flame with a cover over the pot should make it come out fine.
You might be wondering why I didn’t pour some cayenne pepper into the mix while cooking it and the reason is simply because I have had chili in the past that was so damned hot that eating a couple of spoonfuls was torture. That being said I decided to add it like I would regular pepper and allow the person enjoying it to add it to their own personal tastes.
But Ken, I’m A Vegetarian!!!!
That’s not a problem with the recipes for chili that I make, because you can easily substitute any of the meat with some extra mushrooms (perhaps portabella ones) and the vegan delicacy of choice – tofu. I am sure the stuff would absorb any of the sauces and seasonings and come out rather good in the end. I doubt that I would make it like this for myself, but you are always welcome to invite me over for a batch when you cook it up or save me some somehow.