Chili - Soul-Food for the Copper-Stomach
Got to be a Texan thing...
The standing joke between my North German friends was that they had fed us Fish with the bottles when we were little. I sometimes wonder if that is true with Texans and Chili too. At least between my Texan friends...
I always loved Chili; long before I came to the States. But I have my own way of making it and some Chili fanatics will probably get gray hair from the blank thought on how I make mine. But my purpose is not to win one of the uncountable cook-offs, but to just eat something I like the way I like it!
This is one reason why I don't write down exact measurements with any of my recipes; you cook for your own taste! I am trying to give you some ideas; and you create your own recipe out of it! Your taste is probably much different than mine! And maybe you will get gray hair too when you see the way I do my Chili!
I love it! And so do my brats!
Cat's Own Chili
Chili for me is similar to some of my Mom's Stews: What you got is what goes in it!
I like Turkey Chili, because the appearance of regular Chili in cans is an appetite killer for me! You open the can and see half an inch of grease on the top!
If I make my own, I get ground turkey and fry it with a little oil in the pot or crockpot (my prefered method). I add some Chili powder and some Paprika. I cook it until the ground meat is almost done and add some kidney beans. When the beans are about halfway done, I add diced tomatoes, finely chopped green peppers and ...corn! Yes... Corn! My taste and my recipe!
I also add some diced onions and fresh garlic. Depending on how thick everything is and how it tastes, I may add some tomato paste. And when it is almost done, I season with Chili powder, Paprika powder and some Taco seasoning.
So why do you need a copper stomach!?
Depending on the 'target audience' I will either add some FINELY chopped dark green jalapenos or some not so dangerous banana peppers.
The trick is to give your Chili a kick of some sorts, ...but not to make it that spicy that you can't taste the rest of the ingredients! Why border adding them if you can't taste them!?
Chili n' Cheese Dip
This recipe comes from some TV commercial for a certain typical American cheese (I honestly don't like much.). But the idea is great and I did some variations.
I personally prefer to use any graded cheese mix or a rather German favorite: Gouda.
Take your Chili and add some in a (microwavable) bowl. Add a good amount of cheese to it. Stick it in the microwave and 'nuke' it until the cheese is melted.
Mix it up really good and add some sour creme and fresh parsley on the top. You can either serve it with a bowl of tortilla chips or arrange the chips on a platter and dump the chili mix on top of it. If you prefer the second method, leave the garnish of sour creme and parsley to the end.
This stuff is also great with saltines (I prefer the salt-less kind.). I end up crumbling my saltines and dumping them in a bowl of chili 'dip'. My ratio is usually 70% dip vs 30% chips/crackers/saltines! grin
This is a Chili creation I ate for the first time in my favorite restaurant and just couldn't resist making it at home.
Take a good amount of tortilla chips and fill a large plate with them. Arrange some chopped iceberg lettuce to the middle of the plate and dump a small mountain of chili on top of it. Take some fresh (please don't use the canned diced tomatoes. They suck!), diced tomatoes and garnish the plate/chips with them. Add several scoops (you can use an ice creme scoop) of sour creme to the middle of the Chili mountain. Some people like Guacamole, but I think it tastes like it looks: Cow sh....!
Use fresh chives as garnish for the sour creme and garnish the chips with some graded cheese of your choice. You can also add a small bowl of Pico de Gallo as garnish.
OH MY GOD! HOW YUMMY!
This is a quick way to turn a boring salad into something great!
I prefer iceberg lettuce, but other lettuce is fine too. Arrange chopped lettuce on a plate and cover the middle of it with chili; leaving roughly an inch around the edge uncovered. Sprinkle diced fresh tomatoes and shredded cheese all over the plate and some diced onions over the chili. Garnish with sour creme and fresh herbs.
This goes great with some fresh garlic bread or fresh homemade bread with butter on it!
I mentioned Chili Dogs in one of my other hubs, but it is such great food that I had to mention it again.
Hot dogs are cheap food when you don't have much money, but you can make them so much less boring by adding a wide variety of items to it. My favorite one is Chili!
Grab a bun, add a hot dog, cover it with Chili, sprinkle cheese and diced onions on top! Voila!
You can change it up a little with different cheeses, garnishing it with thinly sliced jalapenos or using different types of tomatoes. I sometimes use some crushed chili peppers as garnish too.
Use what you like and enjoy!
I use my bread machine to make pizza dough with the recipe out of my little book that came with the machine.
After making the dough, spread it out on a pizza pan of your choice. Cover it with a decent amount (not too much or you will soak the dough too much) of chili. Top it with fresh tomatoes and shredded cheese.
You can change it up a little by stuffing the outside crust with cheese.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is done.
If you want a 'kick' to it, garnish with thinly sliced jalapenos!
This is a killer food!
Cut potatoes in half, hollow them out a little if you like, and carefully cook them a little. If you have soft-cooking potatoes or like them backed, you can bake them a bit in the oven first.
There are two options:
- If you like your potatoes 'over-baked' as we Germans would call it, take the potato halves and fill them with chili. Place them on a baking sheet and cover them thickly with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted/slightly browned.
- If you like stuffed baked potatoes, bake them hole until done. Lay them on your plate, cut and then split them open, fill them with chili and top them with cheese, onions, freshly chopped green peppers and/or thinly sliced jalapenos and lots of yummy sour creme!
The choice is yours!
Just looking makes you hungry: Chili/Potato Recipes
Chili Stuffed Bread
This is yummy!
Using your bread machine or a simple bread recipe, prepare your dough.
You can either follow your machine's recipe book for stuffed breads or roll the dough out on a cutting board. Fill the middle with chili that you made with as less juice as possible.
Fold the sides in and cover the 'filing' completely with dough. Bake until done. You can add some Taco or Chili seasoning to the top of the dough before baking; or even some dried herbs and dried tomatoes.
Slice your bread and garnish as you wish.
More on stuffed bread vs 'chilis' - No Knead Bread stuffed with chili peppers & Cheese!
Make it simple!
The simplest way of eating it is straight out of the bowl!
Fill yourself a bowl, add cheese and fresh diced tomatoes, dump a bunch of sour creme on the top... Grab the biggest spoon there is and a good movie!
You can also eat it over rice, noodles/pasta and/or potatoes! Or stuff it in some tortillas.
I just like to cut through the chase and get right too it. A lot of times I'm eating it before it ever really made it out of the pot; it's an addiction if you made it right... For your own taste that is!
Sould Food with a Kick
Chili can be a family project when you are making it. Line everybody up and hand them either a knife or a spoon. The fresher the ingredients the fresher the taste!
I love doing things with my family. I guess when you spend years working your rear off and seeing others raise your children, family time becomes something special.
Enjoy them while you can. Meals are a very important thing for the 'maintenance' of your family! And they can be fun; especially when watching their funny faces when they 'find' the jalapenos in their bowl! (Make sure not to offer Sodas or Water to drink! The most efficient way to regain your taste butts is milk! Like commercial kitchens use it to put fires on their grills out, milk will put out the fire in your mouth as well!)
Be creative! You can switch the basic ingredients with so many others. Make a 6 bean chili using different varieties of beans! Use green or yellow tomatoes! Use different cheese mixes!
The only chili cook-off that ever counted for me was the taste-butt of my children!