Monday, August 6, 2012

What's For Dinner

Recently I had two requests. The first was from a reader asking if I'd give her my chili recipe, and the second was from my lovely wife, upon notification of the first request, to cook said chili on the next rainy day here in North Florida. Guess what, today I shall kill two birds with one stone.

Dear reader, my chili is very simple to build. First you'll need two pounds, no less, of the leanest ground beef, or lean beef stew meat. I like a bit more than two pounds so don't sweat the small stuff.

Brown it.

Now, as the meat is fired take two large onions and chop. I like sweet Vidalia onions, but any white onion will suffice. You will also need three standard sized cans of pinto beans, drained of that awful liquid, any brand, and two cans of tomatoes.  Hey, I like tomatoes in my chili and I'm not from Texas so live with it. The ratio of three beans to two tomato I've found perfect. Adjust to your taste.

About the pinto beans...many like kidney beans, fine. I just don't like the flavor of kidney beans, and for some odd reason, even after of hours of slow cooking, they always seem to 'crunch' to me. You be the judge, but I've found pintos best for my taste.

 My spice list is as follows. (If you prefer the easy way out just grab a box of your local store brand chili mix. It is, after all, your chili.)

Ground chili peppers, oregano, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper - these are the basics. I don't follow teaspoon or tablespoon measurements. I'm one of those, 'a pinch of this and a pinch of that' kind of fella. I season by taste. Of course you'll also need a dash of salt and pepper.

 Above, the onions ready for the pot. I know. I use BIG onions.

After the ground beef has browned add the onions and allow them to cook until translucent.

 Above, almost there.

When the onions are ready, add beef stock. Never, ever, use plain tap water.

If stock isn't available, try 'Better Than Bouillon' beef base. Please, follow the directions carefully as this is a very concentrated product. Just a teaspoon added to water will give your chili a far better taste than plain water. I seldom if ever use water when I cook. I keep several boxes of both chicken and beef stock in my pantries. If all else fails it's perfectly fine to use chicken stock in your chili.

After you've introduced the stock, stir and begin to add the beans, tomatoes, and spices. Take a few good finger pinches of kosher salt and throw it in the pot. Add black pepper to taste. Stir well and reduce the flame. Since I use gas I place my pot on a simmer plate.

 Today, just for slaps and tickles, I tried 'Slap Ya Mama' Cajun seasoning along with my usual red pepper flakes. I like my chili hot. Otherwise you might as well attend a girl scout meeting...

 Above, ready for the lid and many hours on simmer. This batch will cook for six to eight hours.

I hope this helps and I haven't forgotten a few steps. I think I've covered the bases. Chili, like many things in life, is built to an individuals personal taste. Don't be afraid to make adjustments.



Thanks & Welcome

To my new friend and follower, Robert Fowler. Robert writes the blog, Second Amendment March, a darn fine blog and I highly recommend all of my other fine friends to take a moment from your busy day and click and give him a visit.

Robert, I promise to always answer any comment you might take me a few hours and in some rare cases, days, but count on it, I shall answer. If for some odd reason I miss any comment let me know and I'll correct my oversight.

Again, Robert, thank you and welcome. You are now among friends.