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Recipe for Simple and Delicious Chili
Chili as a complete meal and more
When I was 18, I worked for a woman named Ginger who is originally from the south. She had a little hole in the wall restaurant with her chili being the star attraction and it was in this setting where I learned how to make it. We served bowls of just chili, chili over rice, plates of chili dogs, chili burgers, chili omeletes. Ginger told me true Texas chili does not contain beans. Her reciple was basically meat, onions, garlic, spices, tomato sauce and water. After the chili had simmered a while, the last thing stirred into the pot would be masa flour mixed with water. It served to thicken and add corn flavor. Although Ginger gave me a good base recipe, I've added some things to make it my own (including beans!)
Christel is a good friend who is also originally from the south. She turned me on to "Chili Frito Pie," which essentially is serving chili over a bed of Fritos. Good stuff although I prefer to use plain tortilla chips since they seem to be a bit lighter (Frito's are pretty oily).
What else goes good with chili? How about cornbread? I will sometimes make cornbread and instead of having it as a side, I ladel the chili over the top.
The perfect accompaniment to top chili with is grated cheddar cheese and finely chopped onions. Unless one has allergies I highly recommended these (at least the cheese!) in order to fully enjoy this hearty fare. From some of the suggestions shared here as to how to serve and enjoy chili, a complete meal with all food groups represented is possible (again, don't forget the cheese!).
The following chili recipe will serve 4 people.
1 - 1 1/4lb of lean ground chuck (simple lean ground beef can suffice, I like the 84% lean, 16% fat). Or Jennie O lean 93% lean ground turkey is excellent as well - it comes in 20 oz packages
2 - 2 1/4 medium onions, chopped (depending on whether raw is wanted to serve atop chili)
4 -6 cloves of garlic (chopped super fine; I use a mortar and pestle)
1 green bell pepper, or lg poblano pepper (seeds and pith removed) chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped (optional - adds color, sweetness and nutrients)
1 15 oz can of rinsed kidney beans or black beans (or some of both)
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
2 cups of H20
2 1/2 T chili powder (use a pinch of chipotle if you want to "kick it up a notch," as Emeril would say)
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp of oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1 T chopped cilantro
Cayenne pepper or red chili flakes can be added for heat. Start with 1/4 tsp and let simmer a while and then add more if desired. (Jalapeno's out of the jar are good too!)
Masa Harina flour (also optional)
Begin by starting to brown meat. When the browning process is 3/4's of the way complete, drain fat. Return to heat and add onions and garlic and spices and continue cooking until onions are no longer raw. Then add other vegetables and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Add can of drained beans and tomato sauce. 1 3/4 cups of water. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Taste to see if there are any spice additions needed. Let simmer for at least another 40 minutes. Masa Harina flour and water can be blended (to a prepared "cream of wheat" type consistency) and then stir into chili.