Monday, October 18, 2010

Chili & Fall

Our town had a very busy weekend with two festivals and a high school homecoming.  Plus there was a very special alumni banquet where five most deserving individuals were officially accepted into our Hall of Fame.  So much going on; I wanted to be at every function.  Therefore, no time to cook.  So when I returned home Saturday afternoon for a break from the festivities, I decided it was time to take a pit stop in my kitchen and cook something appropriate for this time of year.  My favorite college football team was playing at six o'clock and a pot of chili sounded delicious.  It's the perfect thing to park on a very low heat and let everyone serve and eat whenever.

I've made chili pretty much the same way forever, but a few years ago I decided to break with tradition and try ground turkey.  Not the totally fat free kind; about 88% lean to 12% fat, or thereabouts.  I was amazed at how wonderful it was, so clean to the palate with no greasy aftertaste.  I love beef, don't get me wrong, but I must confess I've used ground turkey ever since and actually prefer it to ground beef in chili.  If you use beef however, any recipe translates to either meat.  The spice amounts listed below are approximate; they can be changed if necessary to suit your taste.  Indeed, I don't think I ever really stick to a ridged rule.  Just make it to your own taste and you never go wrong.  My one and only rule that I never break is NO BEANS. 


Olive Oil
1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground meat
4 to 5 tablespoon's chili powder
3 teaspoon's ground Cumin
1 teaspoon celery powder
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 large or 2 medium onions (chopped)
1 small bell pepper (chopped)
3 or 4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 medium can diced tomatoes (I used home canned)
1/2 small can tomato paste
1 stout beer (I used Guinness)
Water (if needed)
Salt and Pepper (adjust to your taste)

Into a large pot add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and the ground meat.  Keep the heat on medium while crumbling the meat until done, but do not brown.  Add the next 4 seasonings and mix into the meat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook to soften.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir to mix well.  Add the beer or water (if you prefer) and stir well.  Place a lid on the pot and allow to cook on low heat for at least an hour.  Adjust the liquid if needed and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a variety of condiments such as sour cream, corn chips, green onion and grated sharp cheese.  And of course you can use it as a topper for the best hot dog you ever had for a heartier supper.  Here I used bun sized brats with yellow mustard, chopped onions, grated smoked Gouda cheese and potato chips alongside.  So very good for a football game or an evening supper on the patio beside the fire pit.  

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