Thursday, August 27, 2009

AndreAnna's It's-All-Fun-And-Games-Till-You-Lose-An-Eye Chili

This is a repost from last year because someone asked for it recently. Even though chili is a cold-weather food, it's always nice to not have to use the oven during the summer.


At one point in life, I was asinine enough to touch my eye after making chili. It was an early Sunday morning years ago before children, where sleeping was, you know, something we did. Mike was sleeping and I got up early to start the chili. I had finished up, and I DID wash my hands. I had an itch and didn't think anything of it, so I itched it. I died. The pain was so much that it clamped my eye shut, and I wear contacts and knew I had to get it out. I ran upstairs screaming like a banshee that I had maced myself, scaring the living crap out of my then-fiancee. He had to kneel on my chest and pry my eye open to peel out my contact lens. I kept yelling something about milk. I remembered milk helped counteract the capsicum in the pepper. I eventually rinsed it out, and put a milk-soaked cloth on it until it calmed down. We laugh at the story now, but man, that really really really sucked.

So learn from me and use gloves when chopping up peppers. Then clean up with the gloves on, washing down the surfaces, making sure all seeds and garbage are thrown away, THEN take them off and still wash your hands well. You can never be too careful.

This is a very chunky type chili, hearty, with lots of fresh ingredients. It does take some prep time, so I wouldn't put it in the easy-peasy category, but it definitely is not difficult.

My local store carries 85/25 "chili chopmeat" specific to making chili - it has a thicker ground, so there are hearty pieces and chunks instead of tiny ground meat. I use one package of this and one package of lean (90% or 93%) to counteract the fattiness of the other. If your store does not have "chili" ground beef and you like the bigger chunks, you can get 85% burgers (about four) and cut them into chunks, sized to your preference. I've done both before and it's worked great each time. You can also use ground turkey meat for this recipe if you prefer.

Also, you will be buying whole peppers but only using 1/4 to 1/2 of each. I recommend chopping them all up, and what you don't use, put in a bowl/bag and freeze for next time so you can save yourself the chopping.

As for the spice, if you want it decently spicy keep the seeds and the ribs (the white edges inside the peppers) for one jalapeño. I find the spice of one whole jalapeño to be the perfect amount. It will bite, but in a good way. Extra spice (crazy fools)--use two. Less spice--remove the ribs and seeds completely and only add in a few seeds, pieces of ribs, or none at all.

See here for pictures/info on all types of peppers.

2 lbs ground beef (split up into your choice or all one kind)
1 24 oz can diced tomatoes (unflavored)
2 cups beef broth
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 c. of the following fresh peppers, chopped:
-long green pepper
-red bell
2 jalapenos, chopped (ribs/seeds added depends on your tastes)
2 tbsp. chopped parsley (can use for garnish later as well)
1 can red beans (optional)
3 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion pweder
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt


2 pkgs. Ortega Chili Mix (Note: this is not cheating. It's all the same stuff as above in one package and makes life much easier)

For display/serving:
-small sourdough bread(s)
-cheddar cheese
-sour cream
-scallions/sweet onions

Set crock pot for 8 hours. Put meat in bottom of crock pot first. Break it up. Then add the diced tomatoes, broth, and all the ingredients but the spices. I like to let the veggies meld and soften on their own before adding the spice.

It will look like this:

Cover and let sit. In about an hour, once the meat has had a good chance to cook, stir the pot. Let cook for an additional 3 hours. About that time, it will look like this:

Add in the spices (or the 2 pkgs. of chili mix - my choice most of the time). Let cook for an additional 2 hours. It will look like this:

Make a roux for thickening the chili -- by melting the butter in a saucepan on low and slowly adding the flour until it makes a paste (you may or may not need the whole amount of flour). Add the roux and the kidney beans at this time if you want them (any earlier and they may break apart). Cook for the final hour to thicken. The final chili will look similar to this:

You can hollow out a small sourdough bread loaf to make a bowl. The insides are excellent for dipping. Pour the chili inside and top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and chopped onions/scallions - all optional and to your liking.



Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Mmmm...chili! LOVE! Yes, that would hurt!

caley said...

I've never made chili before and my husband has been bugging me to for EVER. This chili looks DELICIOUS and I'll be using your recipe when I make it for the first time next week.

Country Girl said...

I had my own jalapeno incident once. I think I was making jalapeno-sour cream mashed potatoes and despite being fairly certain I had washed my hands...well let's just say that it felt like I had taken a bath in pepper spray. My entire burned for hours. Nice.

Jennifer said...

This looks fantastic! So you don't even have to brown the beef first? AWESOME.