Jan 23, 2014

Stephanie's Chili

With the second polar vortex showing it's face on Tuesday, I decided to make some chili to get me through the rest of the week. I always make cornbread to go with it, because I just feel like they are a great pair. I don't do anything fancy with the cornbread - just use a "Jiffy Mix" and follow the instructions. The chili is a different story.

There used to be an awesome mix out there that I used. It wasn't a powder mix - it was a jar full of yumminess. You put the jar, one jar of water, whatever meat and veggies you want, and simmer for about an hour. Easy peasy. Unfortunately I can't find it anymore. And it has been so long since I used it I can't even remember what it's called. When it first disappeared from my local grocery store's shelf, I searched high and low on the internet for it, with no luck. So I have since then learned how to make my own. The thought of making chili from scratch was very overwhelming to me, but since then I have done it several times and it just keeps getting better!

First, I brown some meat and drain the fat. I had a frozen bag of half ground turkey and half ground beef saved for meatloaf that I decided to use (trying to use all of the pantry and freezer food before doing anymore "big" grocery shopping).

Like all the steam on the sink? Yeah it was cold in my house that night. 

Then I chop some onion and garlic and cook it in some oil to get soft. I also add 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce, and one can of tomato paste into my large pot. Before cooking that, I stick my immersion blender in there and grind up those tomatoes (I can't stand chunks of tomatoes). Sometimes if I have steamed tomatoes or other forms of tomatoes in a jar I add those. Just depends on what's in the pantry!


After that, I turn the sauce on low, and start to add some seasonings.

I don't have exact measurements for this part. I go completely by taste, but I have a general idea of what I always put in. 
- About a quarter cup chili powder (this is where you get all of the goodness!)
- Tablespoon of salt and tablespoon of pepper
- Tablespoon of curry powder
- Tablespoon of cumin
- Tablespoon of paprika 
- Tablespoon of cayenne pepper (obviously if you don't want it spicy, reduce this, or if you do like things spicy you can increase the amount)
- Tablespoon of garlic powder (not pictured)
- Teaspoon of hot sauce (also not pictured, I use franks - it gives is a bit more flavor)

Seeing all of the steam in these pictures makes me think that my house must have been very cold Tuesday night!

Stir it all up, then do a lot of tasting and adding. I know this time I added more garlic powder and cumin. But keep in mind - you aren't done at this point. 

Dump in your meat and veggies. I have a strict NO BEANS rule for my chili, because I just don't like beans, but feel free to add whatever you want. I usually just stick with the onion/garlic mixture and a can of corn (drained) because I really like corn. 

Mix it all up and let it get to a boil, where it "pops". Make sure you have a lid on because it will make a huge mess if you don't. Give it a good mix again and then let it simmer for about 20 mins. 

This is the point where you need to do the ultimate taste test. Once everything has cooked together, your tastebuds will tell you what you need to add. I like cumin (smoky flavor) so I usually add some of that. And I like my stuff hot, so I usually add more hot sauce. I'm going to be giving half of this pot to my parents (and they hate spicy things), so I didn't add any. But you can't screw this up - just add what you like and when it tastes good it's done! 

I was so wrapped up in eating it, I forgot to take a picture of the final product until I was putting it away. 

Now, I always top it off with some cheddar cheese and raw onions. Then I have the cornbread on the side, but feel free to add whatever you want.

Do you make chili? What do you do differently? Any suggestions for me?

1 comment:

  1. I usually use a few different kinds of beans, and I like to add a weird ingredient like pumpkin or peanut butter or chocolate to deepen the flavor. I also usually use some sauteed red or orange peppers.