Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Make really good Chili

This is the thing. I don't measure or follow recipes exactly. I just taste something and throw something else in that I think might be good. So when someone asks me for a recipe, it's kind of hard. But this is the general idea. This made a big pot in my cast iron kettle. I made it last night for our Lenten supper. I'm in Iowa so not many people ate it but the confirmation kids liked it.

I know there was a lot left over and was looking forward to leftovers. When I went downstairs after worship, my kettle was sparkling clean and no sign of chili in the fridge. I'm hoping it was the kids that ate it all and that they didn't throw out my chili.

Oh, yea. No beans. I hate beans. I guess you could add kidney beans if you really wanted.

Last night's version:

Couple of cloves garlic (this was the last bulb from last year's garden)
1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
Usually, I had a jalapeno or two, but this was church so I skipped it.

1 can chopped tomatoes (in the summer it would be tomatoes from my garden)
2 cans tomato sauce (if I had any left over it would be my home canned sauce -from my garden of course)

Penzeys med hot chili powder
Celery salt
Penzeys ground ancho powder
Penzeys adobe seasoning
Penzeys Chipotle powder (this provides the heat - had to have some or it wouldn't be chili!)
Penzey's Southwest seasoning
(Normally I'd add Mexican oregano but I'm out of it)

1/2 bottle Samuel Adams Cream Stout (of course you should drink the other half)
1/4 cup brown sugar
a couple of shakes balsamic vinegar

2 lb cooked ground hamburger - but if you want a vegetarian version you can easily skip this. Drain the fat off first.

Olive oil

*I only buy my herbs and spices from Penzeys.

Heat the pan. Remember this - Hot pan, cold oil - food won't stick. Pour enough olive oil to cover the pan. Keep the heat low at first because garlic burns really easy. Throw in your garlic and saute that for a minute or so and add your onions and peppers. Saute for a while until onions are translucent. I add my spices at this point - I just think the onions with chili powder look pretty!
Add tomatoes. Shake a little balsamic vinegar over the veggies. Add tomato sauce and some of the sugar. Now taste it. You must taste your food while you are cooking it. I like sweet chili but you may not. A little sugar cuts that bitter tomato sauce taste but a teaspoon may be enough for you. You don't want your chili to taste like tomato sauce.

Let it simmer a while and let it get thick. Then add your beer. Add more chili powder. Taste it. You figure out what it needs. If you taste and add a little spice here, a little sugar there, water it down if it's too strong you will not ruin it. Don't be afraid. Make this YOUR chili.

Now turn it down low and simmer this for a few hours. Watch and stir it once in a while to make sure it doesn't get too thick. Go ahead and add a little water if it does. If you add meat, simmer it with the meat, that will give it more flavor.

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