Thursday, February 28, 2008


What a great meal. For the purist it consists of meat and seasonings. For those of us who like variety there are numerous ingredients. In a fairly recent posting on Beth's Stories she gave an interesting recipe. I think Chili was a creation of the Southwest, and I know numerous places claim to be the birthplace, but I'm sure it doesn't really matter when you sit down to eat a big steaming bowl. I like the Wick Fowler brand of Chili fixin's. I have included a link to their website in my favorites if you want more information. Their's is a packet of dry ingredients with a recipe on the back for the rest. I always play with mine just a little. Most dry packs call for two pounds of ground beef, however like Beth, you can substitute almost any meat (ground or cubed). In case you can't find Wick Fowler's False Alarm or Two Alarm Chili in your grocery store, here are the dry ingredients; 2 teaspoons paprika, 4 teaspoons cumin, 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes, 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 cup chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional), 2 tablespoons of masa harina flour.
I've learned over the years you need to cook chili for over four hours for optimal flavor. I use a crockpot. It takes four hours for the chili powder to break down. Brown the meat in a large skillet and then drain. I season my meat with Worchestershie sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper before I put it in the mixture. I use the spice and taste method. The meat should taste like you could eat it from the pan. I also dice one fresh onion and sautee in olive oil and a sprinkle of Seasonall. I heat the crockpot on high and add the sauteed onion first. Then I put in the browned and drained meat. In a large saucepan, I put one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, one cup of water, one 8 oz can of diced tomatoes, and all the dry ingridients. I use about 3/4 of the Chili powder in the packet for two pounds of meat. If I cook 3 pounds, I use the entire packet. I heat this mixture before adding it to the crockpot. I also add a tablespoon or so (I never measure) of brown sugar. Add and taste is the best method. You want to be able to detect a slight sweet taste, but you don't want to overpower it. About fifteen minutes before you finish cooking, mix the masa harina in about 1/4 cup of luke warm water and stir until smooth. Add this mixture to the Chili and stir. When time is up, the Chili is ready to eat. However, I like to cook the Chili the day before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to marry. Either way I think you'll enjoy it. The masa thickens and smooths out the flavor. If your Chili is too thick you can add hot water or vegtable broth to thin it just a little. I make my Chili without the red pepper and I put out a variety of Pepper sauces for those who like it hotter. I usually make a pot of Pinto beans in a separate pot to add if folks like their's with beans. Other good add ons are fresh chopped onion, grated cheese, Fritos (original size) and, if you are from the deep South, you may like yours over a bowl of rice. I hope you make a batch soon and let me know how you like it.
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this, that you are dreadfully like other people. - James Russell Lowell