Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day III: Chili

Inspired by FluidPudding's post on putting "the meat-free thing on hold when it comes to chili".Here is the current framework for my chili recipe. Warning: subject to change based on mood, supplies, moon phase!

First, I sneak in some vegetabley goodness by sweating/sauteing onion, carrot and celery, & garlic at the end. Set aside.

Trim chuck
steak very lean and into 1" chunks. Salt & pepper then sear in dutch oven with vegetable oil. Work in small enough batches that searing does not become steaming.

Set aside and brown lean ground beef, ground turkey, sausage, your pick.
Remove from pan and deglaze with sherry or beef broth (I prefer Swansons low-sodium broth or their beef stock.) After reducing till very thick, add beef or chicken broth along with vegetables set aside earlier.

Using immersion blender, work until smooth. If your family doesn't like lots of tomato chunks, add a can of crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes are wonderful, or Red Gold) before blending.
Add meat back in, along with a can of kidney beans, black beans, and/or Bush's Chili Magic Chili Starter and another can of tomatoes.

Toast cumin seeds and pulverize in spice grinder. Add to pot, along with ancho chilies in adobo (minced) or ancho chilie powder, chipotle chilie powder, adobo (if these are not in your spice rack, try Penzey's Spices) a bit of black pepper, a dash of Franks Red Hot Sauce, oregono, thyme, kosher salt, and chopped onion (I prefer vidalia or sweet at this point).

If you are feeling adventurous, add a bit of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and if you are really wild and crazy, a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Let cook at low temperature for a few hours and the beef will be fall-apart tender.

A dish of corn bread or corn pudding is called for. My favorite is a package of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Mix according to directions, adding about a 1/3 can of sweet corn (drained) and topped with hot pepper cheese before popping in the oven.

Serve c
hili with garnishes such as sour cream (mellows the heat for those that have a sensitive palette,) the remaining drained corn, leftover sweet onion (chopped), lime wedges, cilantro, bell pepper, and of course, shredded cheese! My mom always said we should eat chili with peanut butter on crackers, as together they make a complete protein (or something like that.) I'd rather have with a small salad with a citrus dressing as the perfect side.
Leftovers are very tasty, and can be recycled into a fantastic dip by adding Velveeta cheese and tortilla chips. Or warm slightly, spoon onto tortilla and top with shredded cheese and crushed Fritoes, then fold and sear on griddle. Or spoon generously over the top of a hotdog on bun. Freeze single portions for some wintertime comfort food. It won't go to waste!

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