Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside! Better get Chili!

It's December 12th! With Christmas less than two weeks away, and my holiday feast less than one week away, I've been cranking in the kitchen! The foods that I traditionally make in the winter are some of my favorite kitchen concoctions. For me, the best winter-time comfort food is Chili.

Today Jim, our friend Paul, and I are going to go chop down our Christmas tree. More specifically, I am going to pick out a tree, and Jim and Paul are going to chop it down while I take pictures. To thank them for their efforts, I'm making a big pot of chili to warm us up when we get home.

Like most of my recipes, this one started with my mom. Some of my fondest memories involve snow days, hot cocoa, and a bowl of chili covered in red onions and cheddar cheese. I've always been a fan of my mom's chili, but I'm also a fan of spicier fare. I gave this chili my own twist to make it hot, hot, hot!


Red Hot Chili...uh, Chili!
1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 15 oz. can Kidney Beans
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 can Crushed Tomatoes
2 Jalapeno Peppers, chopped
1 Chili Pepper, chopped
1 tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tblsp Red Cayenne Pepper
2 tblsp Chili Powder
1 tblsp Red Curry Powder
1 tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder
salt and pepper

Note: When I buy ground beef, I like to get it from the butcher. Ground beef can be sketchy if you don't know where it comes from. If you go to the butcher, you are more likely to get a higher quality, and fresher selection. You won't pay much more than you would buying it from the refrigerator section.

Now, this recipe moves pretty quickly, so it's best to cut your veggies first. There isn't a lot of down time.

1) In a large, heavy pot (I use a dutch-oven), over medium heat, drizzle olive oil. Add minced garlic, and saute until golden brown.

2) Next, add the chopped bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, chili pepper, and onion. Saute all of the veggies with the garlic until the peppers are soft and the onion begins to become translucent. Make sure you're constantly stirring the vegetables, if they just sit in the pot, they'll steam.

3) Remove the veggies from the pot, and set aside for the time being. Add the ground beef to the pot and brown it thoroughly. Stir it consistently to make sure it gets broken up, this will ensure that you don't get ginormous meat chunks in your chili (unless you're in to that sort of thing).

4) After the beef is brown, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Add the veggies back in to the dish, add the Kidney Beans and mix together.

5) Next add your spices: Cayanne Pepper, Chili Powder, Red Curry Powder, and Cocoa Powder. Mix in to beef and veggie mix.

Believe it or not, the Cocoa powder compliments the chili powder perfectly, and gives the chili a rich color and flavor. Don't leave home without it!

6) Finally, add the crushed tomatoes and stir it up. Reduce the heat to low/simmer and let the chili simmer with the top off for 30 minutes. Put a lid on it and let it cook together for another hour. The good part is, you can't over cook it. You can keep it on low heat until it's ready to eat!

Serving Suggestion: A TON of grated extra sharp cheddar, chopped red onion, and a dollop of sour cream!

Stay warm and enjoy!


mommy said...

How cute! All I can think of is that magical holiday song..... beans, beans, the musical fruit. the more you eat, the more you toot.....

Jenny Crowley said...

That's great, mom. Thanks for that.