Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chili Cookoff Season

We haven't had quite a frost in Atlanta yet, but the leaves are beginning to turn (and fall) and the temps are quite chilly -- YAY! I always celebrate this season. I love everything about the change to fall, then on to winter. The position of the sun, the smell of fallen leaves, someone burning leaves somewhere, the earth seems to give up such a rich smell. The breezes refresh completely. The "ceiling" is so very high and the blue skies make me feel free! To be able to breathe air that isn't laden with the cloying humidity of summer is a treat.

Now, for a discussion on chili. My friend Karen South has challenged her blog readers to publish their chili recipes and link to her blog for a give-away.

A word on Karen. This woman is so very creative and quite an accomplished crazy quilter. It doesn't end there. She has a side business of preparing crazy-quilting (CQ) packets and she does a great job of pairing fabrics with little surprise embellishments. Try ordering a few and challenge yourself to complete a CQ block or wee piece with only the fabrics in the packet. Her blog is as charming as she is -- full of pictures, projects, GREAT embellishments, and all kinds of news. I welcome you to meet Karen on her blog.

Okay, time for the recipe:

Ground sirloin -- 1 lb plus
Ground turkey breast -- 1 lb plus
1 medium to large onion, chopped
4-6 scallions, chopped
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
Fresh garlic -- 1 heaping tsp, minced
Chili powder -- at least 4 Tblsp (I like Mexican style), adjust to degree of "heat" preferred
Ground cumin -- about 2 Tblsp
Cinnamon -- heaping tsp
Cilantro, dried -- about 2 Tblsp
Salt & pepper to taste -- remember that you are seasoning the entire pot with meat and veggies and tomatoes, added in "layers" with every new addition. Remember that celery adds a salty flavor, so taste test every now and then
Large can diced tomatoes
Large can crushed tomatoes
Can (#10) tomato puree or tomato sauce
One or Two cans dark red kidney beans
One or Two cans light red kidney beans
Can pinto beans
Can black beans
Chicken stock OR tomato juice -- about four cups throughout the cooking time, adjust to your preference on thick/thin consistency
Ketchup -- about a half cup -- this makes a huge difference in the taste (adds a bit of sweetness to counteract the "bite" of the tomato products)
In a large soup pot, brown and breakup meats in a little olive oil. Remove the browned meats from the pot.

Warm more olive oil and saute onion, scallions, garlic, and celery, until the celery and onion are translucent.

Add the meat back into the pot. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add spices, tomato products, and beans (slightly drained).

Pour in about two cups of chicken stock.

Simmer for a long time -- I usually simmer for about an hour and a half, stirring often. Add ketchup. Stir and simmer for another hour. I imagine beef stock would work well, too.

Taste test along the way to judge spice levels. Adjust to taste. Also, watch the consistency and add stock as required.

At the end, add more dried cilantro.

Serve toppings of your choice: shredded cheddar/jack, fresh cilantro, chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, sour cream.

I've never checked for the quantity of finished chili -- it makes A LOT! Freeze in serving sizes.


Enjoy the chilly weather and the chili!!!