Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chilly? Chili!

(Clearly I had writers' block when I came up with that lame title... Lucky for me my unofficial but impartial taste-testers like the recipe)

It is no secret to those who know me that I LOVE Fall. As soon as cool breezes start to blow, my excitement is borderline inappropriate. As much as I love the bounty of a summer garden on my dinner table, there's something immensely satisfying about fall and winter cooking. It is the ultimate comfort food - anything stewed, roasted, or braised warms your kitchen and your heart (OK, OK, cheesy line, but true!). It would be safe to assume that there will be a significant increase in blog posts and recipes shared during this season.

So when It got too chilly to leave the windows open the other night, the only thing that would satisfy me and my apparently psychic husband was, naturally, Chili. I say apparently psychic because I had planned a nice sausage and potato gratin for dinner that night, but threw the idea out while I was wrapped up in a sweater on the porch drinking my coffee that morning and decided to have chili instead (holy run-on sentence, batman). Within moments, he called and asked if we were having chili for dinner. Sometimes I wonder if we share a brain...

So today, I share with you my chili recipe. It's delicious, it's spicy, and it makes enough to share with friends and show off your mad chili skills. Coming up with my own chili recipe was sort of a facepalm moment - I was using the Carroll Shelby mix forever. And one day, I almost bought it and said "why am I doing this? I can cook. I don't need no stinking mix!" And from that moment in the spice aisle of Super Bi-Lo, was born:

Spicy 2-Bean Chili (about 8 servings)

2 lbs Ground Beef
1 sm. white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (feel free to use less if you don't like it so hot)
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon Stubbs' brand liquid smoke
1/4 cup masa mixed with 1/4 cup cold water (in a pinch you can use cornmeal- that's what I had on hand this time)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chili beans, drained

And here's how you make it:

Crumble the ground beef into a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Heat over medium high, breaking up the meat and browning well. I drain off the excess fat with a turkey baster. My husband would dump it into a colander. Do what you feel is right here.

Then add the spices- chili powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and Lawry's

at another point in my life, these little plastic cups would house jello-shots. Now they are prep bowls.

Mix those in really well. It should smell fantastic! Then stir in the crushed tomatoes and water. Bring that to a low boil,
Check me out, I caught the bubbles!
 Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it dries out too much, feel free to add a little more water.

Can we take a break for a minute? I need to share:
The source of my powers
Everyone should own one. It's a large Le Cruset Dutch oven. Goes from Stove top to oven. Cooks beautifully. Keeps food hot for hours, it seems. In cold weather, it rarely gets put away because I really use it that much. If I were independently wealthy I would give away one a week. They are a worthwhile investment if you cook a lot. I've made soups, roasts, and even bread in this baby. I really should name her...

Back to the Chili! after 30 minutes of simmering, add your masa-water mixture. This will thicken it up nicely and add a little extra flavor. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, then stir in your beans. Simmer another five minutes, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt to your liking.

I'm actually eating leftovers of this as I write about it. It's even better the next day.
Top it with whatever you like - Frito's, cheese, sour cream, etc. I like cheese and oyster crackers on mine. The leftovers are killer on a baked potato, by the way.

Hope you like!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds so good. You should come up here and make it for me.