Wednesday, December 19, 2007
So, forty-five degrees and raining here in the hinterlands outside the Rose City, and no better day to cook a pot of chili.
Chili, a little shredded cheese, beer, some crackers, pretty much set for supper.
Those of you from Texas can tune out now, since you probably believe that chili is a slurry of ground beef and spices; where we come from, you need beans.
There are a lot of ways to fix chili -- never seen two exactly alike. Basic Perry-household chili recipe: Beans -- you can use pinto, kidney, or red beans, small or large. Qs to cover the bottom of the big soup pot. Cover them with water and let them soak until most of the water gets sucked up, pour the rest off. (One theory says this will help them cook faster and prevent as much intestinal gas after you eat them, but I can't say I've noticed much difference.)
Add fresh water to cover the beans, then boil them over low heat until mostly done, and add spices as you go -- salt, pepper, cayenne, a jalapeno pepper, fresh or dried, like that. Keep an eye on the water, too, more as necessary.
Probably take an hour and a half to two hours to get the beans mostly cooked.
Put them to the side.
In a skillet, sautee chopped onions, Bell pepper, garlic. When it is happy, add ground meat -- we like turkey, but beef or pork or chicken will do. A pound is probably enough, but more or less, to taste.
Cook on high heat until the meat is browned, stir frequently. Add spices as you go -- oregano, cayenne, cumin, clove, a dash of cinnamon, more ground pepper, you can get creative. We like to put in a few sprinkles of Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning. (That's "Sash-shur-ray," in case you ever want to ask for it by name.)
Add this mix to the beans. Put in some diced tomatoes, canned are okay. More spices. Chili powder is okay, too. A dash of Tabasco Sauce, or if you like it hotter, Sudden Death Sauce, Muerte, Crazy Motherpucker, like those.
Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for another couple hours, and there you have it. Simple, easy, and very filling. But: if you like to have a candle by your bedside before you doze off, skip it on chili night, or risk immolation ...