Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chili Request

Got a request for my chili recipe from Becky over on Twitter last week. Or the week before. It was recently, okay?  I mentioned that I include sausage meat in my chili recipe, which she didn't dig on. That's okay. It's easily replaced and I've offered several options below.  Sorry, no pictures for this one. I haven't made it in a while, so you'll just have to make do with the recipe by its lonesome.

Band-Aid Chili

First off, the recipe below is bullshit. Every time my father made this chili and every time I have made it since, it has come out differently. Different veggies, more or less meat, more or less spice. It all comes out to a different chili. So the recipe below is pretty much a guideline more than anything else. The last time I made this chili it had 8 different kinds of peppers, for example. And more meat to veggie ratio. And black beans. I hardly ever use beans, but I used them that time. So take the recipe with a grain of salt. Or a pinch of cumin. Whatever you prefer.

Secondly, it's called Band-Aid Chili because my father...well, maybe you don't want to hear that story. It's kinda disgusting. - Earl

1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
1 pound ground Italian sausage (sweet or hot or both)*
1 large can peeled Italian tomatoes (not sure of the size, but the big can)
1 small can tomato paste (not sure of the size, but the smallest one)
1 bottle beer (user’s choice, but make sure you save some for the cook)
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers diced (I like to mix it up for the colors)
2 green peppers diced
2 large onions diced
6 celery stalks diced
I large handful of jalapeno or similarly spicy peppers seeded and diced.
2 ½ tablespoons ground chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt

*For those how you who don't like sausage meat, you can use ground pork or veal. Or maybe some shredded beef from a pot roast. Anything really. Just something to give the chili some different flavors. Use your creativity here.

- Add tomatoes (you can slice them up if you like, but include all the juice in the can), tomato paste, beer and spices to large pot on low-medium heat.

- Brown beef and sausage in large pan. Drain and add to pot.

- Sauté onions, celery and peppers in a little vegetable oil until onions are a little translucent. Add to pot.

- Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 4-5 hours (or until the tomatoes break down) covered, stirring occasionally.

- Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, tortilla chips and hot sauce for an additional kick. It doesn't need to be served over rice, but if that's what you are into then I'm not gonna stop ya.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

Autumn rolled in like a son of a bitch a couple of days ago.  Rain, temperatures in the 50's and all around gloom. The kind of days that can sink you into a mild depression. Especially when you contemplate the impending Winter months when it gets really cold out there.  It's time to replace the sandals with boots. The t-shirts for sweaters. The shorts for...non-shorts.  You know.

In other words, it's time for soup!

Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

This is another incredibly simple meal. And I say "meal" because it came out more like a stew than a chowder or soup.  I had found a recipe that called for some diced ham, but I had just cooked up a pound of Benton's Bacon the other day specifically to use in recipes.  And Benton's is so smoky and delicious that you don't need very much at all to give the chowder the smokiness it deserves.  I used small new potatoes diced up rough leaving the skin on (after a thorough scrubbing). I hate peeling potatoes, so that worked for me. Finished it all up with a dollop of crumbled goat cheese on top to give it a bit of tang. I'm always up for a bit of tang.

It fucking rocked!  One of the best soups I've ever made, or so says Gia.  Smoky, fresh, filling, hot and tangy.  All good things.

Crappy, fuzzy picture from my phone
  • 1/4-1/2 lb thick-cut bacon - cooked and chopped 
  • 1 small onion - chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks - chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts/tenderloins
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs potatoes - cleaned and cubed
  • 2 1/2 cups corn - I used frozen niblets
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4-5 tbsps flour - for thickening
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crumbled goat cheese - optional garnish

1. Add the bacon, onion, celery, chicken and broth to a large stock pot and bring to a rolling boil.

2. Reduce heat with the lid slightly ajar and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Add the potatoes, corn, milk, thyme and any salt and pepper you want to use and return the heat to a rolling boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just on the firm side of tender.

4. Roughly chop up the cooked chicken into small chunks and add back to the soup.  Thicken with the flour sprinkled in one tablespoon at a time until you get it how you like it.

5. Return to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes or so, and then serve piping-hot. Add a dollop of crumbled goat cheese if you wish.  But it tastes great either way.