Virtual Chili Cook Off

uriah1

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I think cumin gives chili the chili flavor. Unless you add so much heat you can’t taste it.
 

dkmw

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FWIW, Here's a write-up about my recipe I once did for a food blog. I can't find the photos.

Ever since I had a bowl of “3-X” at the famous Texas Chili Parlor in Austin, I’ve been enchanted by the call of the Red. A pot of chili creates an excitement and sense of history. Most of what I know about chili came from an article in Esquire magazine from ’81 or ’82 titled,”How to Throw a Chili Festival”. I can’t find the name of the author, if anyone knows it, please post it in the remarks. He credited Frank X Tolbert for the basis of his recipe. I have changed it a little over the years, but it is essentially Tolbert’s chili I strive for.


Much has been said about whether “true” Texas chili is ruined by adulterating the original basic elements: meat, chili peppers, and spices. The original included no beans, macaroni, tofu, chocolate, rice, coffee, tomatoes, onion, celery, poultry, seafood, wine, hot dogs, peanut butter, eggplant, zucchini, corn, or anything vegetarian.


Count me in the group that appreciates the lore of a purist brew, but can also enjoy moderate enhancements. For most people, one bowl of the real stuff and the beany-veggy stuff begins to seem mildly ridiculous. You can find the recipe part of the article, posted without acknowledgement of source, at this URL: http://tcbunch.com/home/index.php5?title=North_Texas_Red_Chili


I skip the flour and masa harina, substituting onion and mushroom to thicken the texture, otherwise, this is still the best recipe I’ve tried. I also use tomato paste instead of sugar; it adds color and texture. Chili making is more work than most meals, so I like to make a big pot and have plenty for give-aways and left-overs. I’ve also added a few shortcuts to make things go quicker. Some people insist that cast iron cookware is the only way to get the authentic taste; use it if you have it.


Ingredients


10 lbs beef, a cheap and tough cut is best; anything too tender will fall apart.

1 lb thick-sliced bacon

20-30 hot chilies, I look for a mixture of sizes and types, fresh and dried, mostly red, to get the good red color.

3-4 red bell peppers

8-10 cloves garlic (I usually use 6-8 tsp minced from a jar)

12 medium mushrooms

2 medium sweet onions

2 cups beef broth

1 cup chili powder

2 tsp ground coriander

3 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp oregano

¼ cup paprika

1-6oz can tomato paste

5 beers

Salt to taste


To begin, put on some cowboy music and start with a belt of tequila, which really does help establish perspective. Cook the bacon in two skillets, drain and set aside; keep drippings handy in a bowl. Remove stems, seeds and veins from the peppers, add to a soup pot with beef broth, onions, mushrooms, tomato paste, and garlic cloves; add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer briskly for a half hour, while the beef is being browned. Watch the pepper fumes, they can burn your eyes and throat. Remove most fat, gristle and silver skin from beef and save. Cut meat into ¾ inch cubes. Brown the cubed beef, a handful at a time in the two skillets, use some bacon grease to loosen it up. Watch for steaming caused by crowding, it gives the meat a weird texture. Give it a good scorch, but don’t let it burn. Put cooked beef into the chili pot.


When all the beef is done and in the pot, turn off the peppers and let cool for a while. Toss the beef trimmings into a skillet and fry it up. When it’s scorched, add 2-3 cups of water; this will extract flavor from the fatty nuggets and de-glaze the pan, also gathering flavors. Pour this into the other skillet and de-glaze that one too. Strain liquid into pepper pot, discard the trimmings, save some for the dog. Chop whatever is left of the bacon, after everyone snacks on half of it, and add it to the big pot. Add the dry spices to the beef and stir thoroughly and gently to coat the cubed meat. If you are using minced garlic from a jar, add it also. Cook the coated meat gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, don’t let the bottom burn.


Ladle the pepper mixture, in batches, into a blender and puree. The idea is to chop the pepper skins fine enough to be unnoticeable, but don’t overdo it. Crack a beer, take a sip, and then stir the rest into the meat. This is fun. Do it again. Add the blended up peppers and broth. Add the rest of the beers. The meat should be covered, with about two inches of liquid above it. Add water or beer as needed to make enough broth. Cook over low heat for at least two hours, while you clean up the kitchen mess. Keep stirring to prevent burning. Taste the broth and adjust pepper level and saltiness if needed. I usually let it simmer slowly for 4-5 hours. The whole house will be filled with that unmistakable aroma, mmmm. Place the pot overnight in the fridge.


An hour before serving, skim some of the grease off the top with a spatula, I like to leave some in for flavor. Heat carefully over low heat until the pot is just bubbling. Serve with shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar. Most people like some bread or saltines as a security blanket against the peppers. A good bowl isn’t so hot it is a chore to endure, but is should make you sweat a bit. It is normal to find yourself at a pause, mid-bowl, with deep thoughts bubbling up into your consciousness before digging back in to finish. Use leftover chili and cheese to make omelets the next morning.

That’s close to the way I do it. I’d skip the bell peppers and use more cumin, though. I’d also add the step of straining the reconstituted chiles to get the skins out. I’m making red chile sauce. Once you’ve run it through the blender, you strain it off and fry it briefly. I use a piece of plastic window screen for the final strain to get all the goody out. Fold it into a cone and squeeze.
 

1guy

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I make pretty good chili and I'ma let y'all know right now, I'm stealing ideas...never thought of the brown sugar or chocolate... definitely will put a lil brown sugar in next time.

I like my chili a lil more on the Tex-Mex side, so I like to mix chorizo into the ground beef or turkey...I gotta up my game and get some flank steak or higher quality meats.

I ALWAYS put at least half a bottle of beer in mine...

I'm big on mixing different peppers, bell and yellow and red...

I also like to saute my peppers, garlic, and onions, before I throw them into the crock pot.

Someone earlier mentioned the roasted tomatoes... yep..gotta have that and a lil salsa.

I also like to add some black beans to the mix.

When served, I like sliced avocado on the top, instead of shredded cheese and I use the spoon to scoop the chili onto a saltine...I can go through nearly a sleeve of crackers in one bowl.

I'm surprised I don't have a pic of any of my chili. My daughter, whose grown now, and I love sending pics back and forth of our dishes.
 

teletimetx

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Mole, by the way is an Indian (Nahuatl) word meaning roughly "mish mosh", and covers a huge variety of sauces.

Nahuatl perhaps - although some might say it’s a noun from the Spanish verb “moler” to grind, which from the experience of making mole, seems about right. Moler found its way into English as miller and French as moulin, as in Moulin Rouge, the Red Mill.

Just for discussion, not really arguing.

I have my own chili preferences, but I’m in general accord with those that find it a great opportunity to improvise - as long as some form of the chili pepper is being honored.

In thinking about this, it just occurred to me that maybe hominy could be used as a substitute for- or to augment - beans, if you happen to like the frijole.
 

oldunc

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Nahuatl perhaps - although some might say it’s a noun from the Spanish verb “moler” to grind, which from the experience of making mole, seems about right. Moler found its way into English as miller and French as moulin, as in Moulin Rouge, the Red Mill.

Just for discussion, not really arguing.

I have my own chili preferences, but I’m in general accord with those that find it a great opportunity to improvise - as long as some form of the chili pepper is being honored.

In thinking about this, it just occurred to me that maybe hominy could be used as a substitute for- or to augment - beans, if you happen to like the frijole.


I thought that too (about the etymology) until I looked it up; there doesn't seem to be any doubt. As far as hominy, you might want to look into posole.
 

oldunc

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That’s close to the way I do it. I’d skip the bell peppers and use more cumin, though. I’d also add the step of straining the reconstituted chiles to get the skins out. I’m making red chile sauce. Once you’ve run it through the blender, you strain it off and fry it briefly. I use a piece of plastic window screen for the final strain to get all the goody out. Fold it into a cone and squeeze.


I never strain the puree; it may have been advisable in the days when the chilis were ground on a metate, but a thorough go through the blender will leave a smooth puree. I've heard of people peeling dried chilis, which strikes me as cuckoo, not to mention near impossible. I also rarely toast chilis before soaking, which many insist on- it changes the flavor a bit, but not in a way that particularly appeals to me
 

teletimetx

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I thought that too (about the etymology) until I looked it up; there doesn't seem to be any doubt. As far as hominy, you might want to look into posole.
Thanks for the info!

I’ve had/made/eaten posole- that’s not really were I was headed, but thanks, also, for the suggestion.
 

trapdoor2

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30+ yrs ago, somebody gave us a gift package of spices that came with a chili recipe. We made it and it was perfect for us. Very simple ingredients, nothing crazy...and we both still really like it. Yes, it has beans. We like beans. Call it "Chili/w" if you care. We don't.

Of course, I've tried a lot of crazy recipes. Some have been excellent...but we keep coming back to the simple one. I used to insist on stew-meat but I'm good with regular ground beef.

IIRC, the recipe uses the standard chili spices (cumin, oregano, cilantro, etc, etc.) to add to standard Chili Powder. I've made my own CP using fancy spices...not worth the effort. However, the 'enhancing' spices come from "The Chicago Spice House" https://www.thespicehouse.com/ and I think they're well worth getting from there. Much better than McCormick's from the grocery store.

Basically, it is onions, green peppers, garlic, ground beef (I think we brown it and drain off most of the grease), canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, chili pequin powder, oregano. Salt and pepper to taste, add kidney beans at the end. We used to make it in a cast-iron dutch oven but now it all goes into the crock pot.
 

1293

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Okay, made a vegetarian chili for dinner. I admit it was more of a ratatouille -- eggplant and zucchini will do that. o_O

9 times out of 10, I do a vegan "chili" but I love chunks of lamb.
 




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