Chilin’ Wit Da Electorate
BS’s famous presidential unendorsements inspired 80 and I to make some down-home chili and watch the caucus last Tuesday. Chili‘s great for a TV night. Prep work is minimal and once all the ingredients are simmering away in the pot, there’s barely any work to be done, except for the occasional stir. So while it’s ridiculously warm out in the Nation’s capital, think about all those poor New Hamshireites (sp) that are braving the cold to pledge their allegiance to the candidate of choice – and eat some chili for them. (And, if we have any NH-ers in the building – click here for the latest ES undersorsements.)
And yes, pictured above are actual caucus go-ers. 80 is so obsessed with his new camera that he’s started taking photos of the television. Swear!
Also, and this may be controversial, but I tagged chili as “soup.” Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “You ES-ers have sooo many categories already that no one will even notice if you if you add in ‘chili.’ ” But I do try to fit things in to our pre-existing tags if possible. So I think I’m going to stick with chili as a soup on this one. Leave it in the comments if you think it’s an absolute atrocity that must be stopped immediately.
Recipes (for chili and accompanying corn bread products) and many pics, post-jump.
Iowa Caucus Chili
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (you can reserve some if you like raw onion as a topping for the finished chili; I do)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced
2 chipotles in adobo, spoonful of adobo sauce
seasoned salt (Lawrys, for example)
15 oz beef broth
20 oz tomato puree
15 oz fire roasted crushed or diced tomato (you can get fire roasted for a more smoky flavor or just plain – no biggie)
1 spoonful tomato paste
16 oz white kidney beans
16 oz red kidney beans
16 oz pinto beans
Sharp cheddar, shredded
Corn bread mix
In a large pot on high heat, add some oil and brown the meat. When browned, remove, drain beef over colander with paper towels. Set aside.
Yes, I know this meat looks like turd.
I succumbed to Giant marketing. The grocery store has a couple different textures of ground meat. The kind I usually buy for chili is the ultra-ground meat, as in use for burgers. But, the one I bought this time was labeled “Great for chili.” And like a sucker, I bought it.
I knew it wasn’t going to be right. And, it wasn’t. The thickness of the beef was a bit too, um, thick. Just not the tiny ground texture that is correctly found in most other chilis. So, please use the above picture as a how-not-to-buy-chili-meat guide. Buy the regular ground meat. Okay, next step.
In the same pot (do not clean) add a bit more oil, lower the heat and add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and jalapeño. Saute until vegetables begin to brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. And make sure you scrape all those brown bits from the pan into the mixture. That’s pure flavor!
Add any spices you have on hand – like the cayenne, cumin, oregano… including the chipotle, adobe sauce and worcestershire (s&p.) It’s not an exact science. Although I’m sure Alton B would have some words with me on that. Basically, whatever heated spices you keep in the house, toss ’em in.
Add beef broth and cook until liquid is reduced by half – ballpark 10 min.
Add all the tomato products and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and stir in beans (first drain the liquid and give them a quick wash) and reserved beef and simmer, partially covered, over low heat for at least 1 hour. I usually stir occasionally.
(Before storing leftovers, let the chili come to room temp first.)
Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, raw diced onion, shredded cheese and your corn bread product of choice.
I use cutie little Jiffy brand of corn muffin mix (50 cents a box!)
For the first go-round of chili I used half the package of Jiffy and made corn bread muffins (follow the directions on the box – just adding an egg and milk.)
On our first night of leftovers, I used the rest of the package and made corn pancakes. Same ingredients, except I added the rest of the jalapeño into the batter, which gave it just a slight hint of heat.
I used the griddle side of my grill pan for the ‘cakes. On medium low heat, doused with butter, add the batter with an ice cream scoop. When starts to bubble – flip.
They should be done on the second side in about 60 seconds or so. Then I top the chili with the ‘cake. And, fine, I saw it here first.
But no biggie; corn bread is not a necessary. I just love the tastes together.