Friday, September 30, 2016

Chili is alot like life, or magic

Every year about this time it happens, the sun begins to set earlier and rise later,  the air gets crisp, even chilly, the sky turns a brilliant blue and the light a warmer more golden tone as the angle of the sun changes. 
Somewhere between the wanderlust, and  childhood memories that flood back, and hoarding for winter, I get really hungry for chili.   It just doesn't taste as good as Spring springs forth, and it is even less appealing during the summer months.   But now when I am obsessed with how I will survive all of that time indoors, making chili the old fashioned way, sounds more than worth the time. 

My first encounter with chili and was as part of the school lunch program.  We didn't have chili at home.   What's not to love about chili, tomatoes, ground beef, kidney beans, a trifle hot, really savory, with a scattering of sweetness, yah! that is what I call a perfect food, a comfort food.   When I started making chili I followed a very simple recipe,  but along the way
I learned that everyone has their own recipe.    And eventually so did I.

My journey toward my own version of this flavorful mélange, began with the addition of ketchup, and few spoons of sugar.  A few batches later I ditched the sugar, and switched to stewed tomatoes.   One year I learned to make a mellow blend of apple, tomatoes, onions, sweet and hit peppers, locally know as  "Chile sauce" , which is still a part of my recipe, 
a Canadian woman, who I met at one evening when the roads ahead were closed by heavy  snow, told me to add some celery, against that is still part of my recipe.    I have tried sausage, chocolate, even coffee, none of which seems to be as great as I was told they would be.   When Adobo became available locally I started adding that, plus a few spoons full of masa to thicken the broth, both of which I think are good additions. 

I toyed with diced apples, which disappear, and are good, if you don't use more than one.   Even smokey bacon, which was quickly replaced  by nothing.   Tiny cubes of beef sometime replace, the burger, and ground elk or buffalo when I can get them. are swapped out for the lean ground beef.  After all these years my chili is still a work in progress

That said here is a photographic tour of the chili par of last night supper.

In my heaviest stainless steel Dutch oven is about 1 and 1/2 pounds of ground, ranch raised elk.
Super lean stuff so put a dash of oil in the pan. break it up and season with black pepper, chili powder, some garlic.

Let it brown, while enjoying the aroma.  The house feels warmer already


 Once the meat is browned, add in the vegetables,  and a little tomato juice or water if you prefer.  I have used  coffee and beer for this, but I'm not crazy about the taste they add.  You could add some of the juice from the beans

However I prepare large batches of beans from dried ones and freeze them, I don't usually have any of the salty, starchy liquid that is in canned beans.
After a few hours of cooking over low heat I taste it and adjust the seasoning.  Needed a little more salt, a dash or two more cumin, and some adobo for saltiness.  And  let it simmer until it looks well melded,  last adjust seasoning add a couple spoons of masa{corn meal flour, roasted if you can find it}, stir it well and serve.

                                                    What's this?!?!?
                               What's this!!!!!!!! I wanted another bowl!!!

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Silent Sunday~~~Hedgehog Picnic

thanks Coleman