Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chili, Chilli, and Chile

So I'm a week late, a sick child will do that to you!

On to the topic...Chili, depending on who you ask and what region their from they will tell you what chili is or is not. Beans? No beans? Veggies? Whatever, my theory is what ever you (the cook) likes is right. I am however a believer that is should be tomato based. I know there are other cream based chilies out there but to me tend to be more cowdery. I'm sure I just stepped on some toes and I'm sorry.

Now I am going to through out a couple definitions here (from

chili con carne: a Mexican-style dish made with chilies or chili powder, ground or diced beef, chopped onion and pepper, and usually kidney beans and tomatoes.

chili: a meatless version of chili con carne

Notice that neither of these say that chili doesn't have beans, but if you talk to a Texan they may disagree.

OK so the reason that I have decided to talk chili is because last week our office had our 3rd Annual Chili Cook off.  There were eight entries, one of which was me (I didn't win). All of the chillies were distinctly different; some were very spicy, some where mild, one was a white chicken, some were very simple and some had unique ingredients.  I wanted to get some pictures but I didn't, sorry.

Here is the recipe for my non-winning but good Three Meat Chili:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. beef stew meat
2 large pablano peppers
2 Serrano peppers
1 habanero pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium apple
1 - 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 - 5 oz. can tomato paste
2 cups water
1 - 10 oz. can corn
1 - 48 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1/2 - 1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 tsp. Cinnamon
black pepper

Brown all the meat in a large stock pot, season with some of the chili powder and salt and pepper. While the meat is browning, put the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil (about 1 tablespoon).  Place in the oven about 5 inches from heat and broil/roast until the outside blisters, rotating to get all sides.

Transfer cooked meat to a paper towel to drain. Add the chopped onion to the pot, cook until just translucent.  Peel and chop the apple and add to the onion, cook a few minutes.  Add about half of the spices to the pot. Stir.

Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, this will help remove the skin. Remove the skin and seeds and chop peppers, add to the onion and apple mix.

Transfer the meat back into the pot, along with the can of tomatoes, water, tomato paste, corn and beans.  Let simmer and add the remaining spices.  The longer is cooks, the more the flavors will merry.  Cook for at minimum 2-5 hours. 

Note: all spices and pepper types can be edited for your heat tolerance.

Here are some links for other chili recipes:

Chuck Wagon Chili
Cincinnati Chili
White Chili
Chile Verde
Original Texas-style Chili

Share your favorite chili ingredient!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A little Surf and Turf

It is Valentine's Day, and I plan on working hiss.  So last night we decided we would have a nice dinner.  I asked my husband what he would prefer to eat and the response was...steak.  So since I am trying to cut back, I added shrimp.  The last time he had shrimp was over the summer and he said he liked it so I thought I would give it a shot again.  The meal; grilled New York strip steak, grilled shrimp, mashed red potatoes and salad.  A good meat and potatoes meal.  (Sorry no pictures, I forgot)

Mashed potatoes:

Quarter about 2 lbs. of red potatoes, boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain. Add about 3 tbsp. of margarine, and 1/4 cup of milk (I used whole, I didn't think Almond would taste to good.) Mash until your desired consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste.

For the meat, all I did was a little salt and pepper and put on the grill.  Nothing fancy.

The shrimp, I basically just added a little salt and pepper and olive oil. Grilled until just almost done, tossed the shrimp into a mix of butter and citrus basil seasoning, then put back on the grill to just finish cooking through.  Total about 5 minutes.  (Make sure to get good fresh shrimp!)

I served everything with a mixed green salad and rolls (fresh from the Amish market.)

Next week I will be talking Chili...