October 12, 2009

Chili Con Carne

What did I cook on the cookstove Saturday when it slightly snowed but moreso heavily froze and frosted everything in a very picturesque way? Chili. I've got my 3x5 card sitting here with me. It has a paperclip on it, meaning I've accumulated several chili recipes. Paperclips in my recipe box are on Lasanga, and Tiramisu (not remembering what else). But Monte says this is the BEST Chili, so I need to make that note on the card (maybe throw away or put away the other cards).

As I've said before, I packed away most all my cookbooks (tho, as I posted a picture on my photoblog, Monte just made a shelf in the garage over the freezers that my books are now on and I'm utilizing them, having missed them!). A cookbook set I did leave out is all the Cooks Illustrated bound magazines. I never buy the magazines, waiting till the end of the year's bound edition, and have them all from their beginning. I consult them all the time. So this chili recipe is the best because of consulting them, yet not following their exact recipe. That's what I like about them - so much exploration and process of elimination with the whys, that I can choose my own way -

Chili con Carne
about 4# beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes (the last couple times I've used pork shoulder since it's what I had in the freezer. And the cubed meat is what's a key to the goodness of this recipe.)
7-8 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-1/2" pieces
Fry bacon and brown meat in batches (I used some wine after batches to remove browned bits stuck on pan's bottom - Monte thinks that's another key to the goodness - my addition to the recipe, having read many recipes that do that.)
Saute -
1 onion, chopped, 5-6 minutes, and add -
5 garlic cloves, minced &
3 anahiem chilies or 1 jalepeno, chopped
(I grilled these anahiems earlier, as we got them in our farm share. And they're a bit spicy hot. Once grilled, let cool- and then I plop them in the freezer in a ziplock bag with other chilies I've grilled. This would be another of my additions to the original recipe.)
2 tsp salt
3 Tb chili powder
(The recipe original messes with a variety of chilies, grinding and making a paste ... I skipped. I let the juices dry out, maybe not adding all the tomato in at once, so that the spices saute, toasting a bit too.)
2 TB cumin (whole, I didn't grind this time)
2 tsp oregano
1 cup (or small can stewed) tomatoes, chopped
2 TB lime juice
Add back in the meat and bacon and 7 cups of water and let this simmer at least 2 hours.
At the end, Add -
5 TB Masa Harina, mixed with
2/3 cups water
and occasionally stir letting it heat and thicken some.
(The original recipe doesn't add beans, but I always add a can of either black beans or black soy beans.)

We love to eat this with added grated cheese and avacado chunks. I'll eat with tortilla chips, while my boys will crush the chips into the chili. Add a side salad and you've got a great meal. (I froze what was left of it last night for one more meal.)

Dawson and Splarah went skiing today for this year's first time. Wow, early October. There was a year that Travis made the goal of skiing every month of the year - not sure where he'd have done that in August. But one of our ski hills is open the earliest and latest of all others - it's A-Basin, most of it above timberline. We have the typical evergreen pines, conifers, spruce, and then above them there's the Bristle Cone Pines that are as old as Jesus! A-Basin's summit is above 13,000ft.

That's chili!!!!!!!
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