Friday, March 9, 2012

Chili, Anyone??

Ok so yes, today it may be 75 degrees outside and this week it MAY have been in the high 60's, yet I still felt the need to make chili before it becomes spring and it isn't cool to eat chili any more. Yes, I have been complaining about it being cold and I am PUMPED that things are starting to bloom, but I am trying to cram in as much winter into these last few cool weeks as I can. I'm wearing all of my cute jackets and boots and making chili, apparently. Since this month's cooking club recipe list included chili I figured I would try my hand at it as my last "cold weather" meal as opposed to one last round of taco soup. PLUS, a group of lawyers had just formed to perform service projects each month and this month they were feeding some of the police officers before their Bible study, and they were looking for someone to cook and CHILI was suggested. If you know me at all, you know I am all about killing as many birds with as few stones as possible, so I signed up!! I actually made the chili on Tuesday night after returning from Birmingham. My granddaddy had been in the hospital for nearly a week and my mom and went to see him. He is doing GREAT, thank you very much, and is the proud new owner of the Caddy of pacemakers. Forrest was at Duck Springs Community Club when I got home so I started to tackle chili for 20 on my own. This didn't seem like that big of a deal until I realized that I was too short to actually brown the meet in the bottom of the gi-normous pot I borrowed from Justin and Farrah for the occasion. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, but I ended up kneeling on a chair just to be able to reach my hand down into the pot. Thank goodness Forrest wasn't home--he would have laughed and laughed!! (Although, now that I think about it, if he had been home he could have done it since he is so much taller--hmmm). I also pulled double duty and was cooking a pot for us to keep at the same time (I was using turkey instead of ground beef so I couldn't do it all in one pot.) The recipe was VERY easy and required little attention (I took a good run while it was simmering--what a great way to use an hour), however, that made the chili a bit too "simple" for my taste. Sorry, Pioneer Woman. While this was perfectly fine chili, no one will ever beat my dad's chili, which takes all day to make and like, 30 seconds to eat. I thought this one lacked tomatoes, although that could be easily remedied! I hope that officers enjoyed it (I spiced it up REALLY well for them--hope they can take it) and that they know how much we appreciate all they do for us and the community!!

Here is Pioneer Woman's recipe (I copied it off of the food network website)
This made 6-8 servings so I tripled it for the officers


Simple Chili


Ingredients


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I would suggest using at least one more and maybe a can of whole tomatoes, cut up)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes and was NOT stingy)
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour, found in the Mexican food section of many supermarkets) (I used corn starch--same diff)
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • (for the officers, I used black beans too--it make it look so pretty!)
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving
  • Chopped onions, for serving
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. 
Taking this pic actually helped me to figure out that I needed a chair. My hands were up over my head to take this. SO high I couldn't even see what I was shooting. Not to shabby, huh?

Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed. (I used at least 1 whole cup--maybe 1 and 1/2 on the single recipe)
After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Yummy!! Don't the black beans add a great pop of color?? 

Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips and lime wedges.

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