Off Topic- Chili

dancing-chili-pepper__HLCL0549Okay, you will have to forgive me once again. I’ve been involved in a remodeling project that has sucked the life out of me, but that ill finally conclude tomorrow. Hardwood floors, marble tile in the bathroom, black granite countertops and white subway tile backsplash in the kitchen, washer/dryer hookups and a new washer and dryer in the kitchen, a new (gorgeous) light fixture in the dining area, even new designer outlets and light switches. It’s gorgeous, but I am so glad it’s over I can’t tell you.

I’ve been spending my evenings drenched in various old favorites to decompress; it’s amazing how a cherished scent can do that, isn’t it?

The other thing I’ve been doing is cooking. The other day I stole a few hours to meet a friend for lunch. I was early so I popped into Bed Bath and Beyond to cruise the Le Creuset and just for the heck of it decided to weigh myself.

I am at 170.

Which ain’t much considering I am over 6 feet tall.

So I decided I could afford some treats. The next morning was a bagel with lox and a schmeer of cream cheese thicker than my wrist. I love cream cheese and a bagel, good as they are, are just a cream cheese delivery vehicle. Even the lox aren’t as important.

One of the other things I made was chili. I love to make it and usually do so at least once every few months. This time I was in the market and was fairly appalled at the price of ground beef. So this time I went for ground turkey, which I browned in olive oil. I added a fat minced shallot, some cajun seasoning, beans, a jar of spaghetti sauce (I know, Texans are thinking “damned Yankee..”) and a bit of this and that. I simmered for an hour or so, jarred most of it and then served myself a heaping helping served over sourdough toast and a liberal helping of Monterey Jack cheese. If I do say so, it was delicious.

Do you like chili? Have a favorite recipe? Please do share in the comments.

Image: Internets.

  • jen says:

    I’m from Arizona, and we put lots of beans in chili! Cause it tastes good! I would add tomato paste and some fresh tomatoes, along with a can of pato sauce for heat.

  • maggiecat says:

    You put beans in your chili??? Oh, come to Texas Tom. We’ll forgive spaghetti sauce, but not beans…we’ll happily show you some “real” chili and fixin’s. 🙂
    And your remodel sounds lovely. We need to do some too, but keep putting it off. I think we’ll just get a new puppy instead…

  • rosarita says:

    Your remodel sounds absolutely gorgeous and now you can say you lived through it! My husband is a native Texan and we do love our chili, just made a pot last weekend and yes, he would be horrified at the spaghetti sauce. My secret ingredient is a good glug of Zing Zang bloody mary mix.

  • tammy says:

    Some Texans wouldn’t forgive the spaghetti sauce ( many pitch a fit if tomato or any kind of tomato products are used), others wouldn’t forgive the beans, and still others the ground turkey ( or beef), but fortunately, you didn’t have to serve it to any! (And even if you had, hopefully they would have minded their manners and eaten what was put before them without any rude comments!)

    I prefer a Mexican chile, which honestly is just meat simmered in salsa. I make fresh salsa every Monday, so I always have it on hand, and it’s an easy meal. I serve it over rice.

    But if I make what I consider to be a more Texas/American chili, I use a combination of several recipes I like and it includes suet, lard, various types of dried peppers, a bottle of good Mexican beer, preferably a dark one, masa, and steak of some sort. I sometimes some unsweetened cacao, which kind of veers off into mole territory, but it sho’ am good! I think the key is using good peppers, preferably guajillos, chipotles or anchos. (I love the smoky flavor you get with the dried chilies)

    And I don’t add beans to mine, partly because my husband doesn’t care for beans ( talk about your damn Yankees!) and partly because I don’t like the flavor they add to the chili, even though I love beans of any kind.

  • Dina C. says:

    Your remodeling project sounds really nice! It will be great to enjoy an improving living space when it’s all done and the mess is gone. I do agree that favorite scents are a comfort during any unsettled time. They become like a touchstone that extends through the years, transporting us to days gone by when we were in a happier place.

    I think a Texan would forgive you for the spaghetti sauce, but I KNOW they wouldn’t for including beans! No Texan worth their salt puts beans in their chili. That’s a rule that seems to be engraved in stone. While I live in Virginia, my dad’s entire clan is from Texas, and I’ve heard it all my life. 🙂 I make chili often in the cooler months, and mine has been a perpetual winner in an annual chili cook-off that we do with some local friends. My secrets have more to do with technique than ingredients: degrease the cooked ground beef before adding all the rest of the ingredients. Use a large saute pan with a lot of surface area so that everything cooks quickly and evenly. Fresh chopped cilantro, if you enjoy that flavor, makes a nice addition. Canned Ro-Tel tomatoes with chilis are a great way to add more flavor — I use the mild ones. Through the years, I’ve tasted a lot of variations of chili, and they’re all pretty tasty. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your recipe.