This week launched our inaugural article as the resident Chef for American Boomer magazine. Check that out if you haven’t, and not only for our stuff, but for the gorgeous fall pics and great articles.
We threw a bonus chili recipe in at the last minute for that piece, so I thought we’d one up that with some pics, since we didn’t have time to shoot for the mag. This variant is slightly different than the one published, as this is what we had on hand and what i felt like using; recipes should always be flexible…
E’s Classic Chili
1 lb each pork and beef, cut into strips and cubed or ground as you prefer.
1/2 sweet Onion
2 – 6 sweet Bell Peppers
1 – 4 Jalapeno Chiles, (Ours came from our pals at Neighborhood Gardens and had some definite fangs on ’em!
1 14.5 oz can each of black, kidney, and great northern beans, (Use dried if you have time, they’re worth it)
28 oz. can crushed and peeled tomatoes, (Fresh are fine, but you’ll get less juice)
Tablespoon Chili Powder
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic
1 bottle of beer, (Your choice, I like to use lighter stuff like Pilsner)
2 Tablespoons Oil
So, we start with the flesh, of course, and I prefer roughly 50%-50% beef to pork, and a fairly fatty cut of both. With the trust Kitchenaid set up for a chili grind, (Read bigger of the two discs supplied), we’re good to go. I like to season the meat as it’s being ground, so a healthy dusting of the house made chili powder gets applied, (And more on this shortly)
Note that one member of the family pays rapt attention to this process…
Add beans and tomatoes to a tablespoon of oil in a pot big enough to hold your whole creation.
Chop onion and fine dice garlic. Put onion into a medium hot pan until they’re starting to turn translucent, then add garlic and saute both for a few minutes more, then add to the big pot.
Toss peppers and chiles onto a very hot grill or place under a broiler and blister all sides. Set aside to cool enough to handle. Stem and field strip all, then chop and add to the pot.
Heat the the other tablespoon of oil in a hot pan and then toss in your flesh. Brown thoroughly and then with pan still hot, add bottle of beer. Reduce heat, allow to simmer until meat is cooked through, then add it to the party.
Allow the chili to simmer on low and adjust seasoning as needed. I think at least 2 hours is called for and as many as 8 – Low and slow is the key to building and blending great chili flavor.
You see spelling variants of chile versus chili everywhere these days. I’m not gonna claim to be the point at which the buck stops in this debate, but I’ll happily outline our take on the vernacular. Chiles as we refer to ’em means the peppers themselves, the capsicum fruit, pods, etc, whilst chili means the savory dish flavored with the former, and ne’er the tween shall meet. That said, here’re some notes on house made chili powder for y’all.
Classic chile powder has claims on it from Mexico to Texas to everywhere else in the southwest. Classic chili powder is not simply ground chiles and nothing else; it is in fact a blend and the other stuff is every bit as important. Try this as a starting point and then vary further as you see fit.
House Made Chili Powder
2-4 Tablespoons dried chiles of your choice, (I used Jalapeno, Tabasco, and Red Hatch)
1 teaspoon Cumin seed
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
½ teaspoon Sweet Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon granulated Garlic
Put everybody into a spice grinder or molcajete and grind fine. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl; don’t push stuff through – If it doesn’t fit, let it be. We use a lighter chile load and variety for a mild powder, and more and heftier for hot. Place into a shaker top spice jar and enjoy; try this blend on soup, eggs, grilled cheese, roast chicken, baked potatoes, etc, etc…
We made some cheddar cornbread for our batch tonight; it was given rave reviews by all!
And it was maybe just a bit on the hot side…