All right, I warned you I was gonna pass out my recipe for chili. You can try it and pass out later.
We never had chili when I was a kid. We lived too far north to even hear of it. Didn’t know what chili powder was. My Mom’s spice rack had salt and pepper. Ketchup was adventurous, although just after the ice-age, we called it catsup. We were one of the first, daring families in our town to try Chef Boy-Ar-Dee’s boxed pizza mix. We didn’t have a pizza tin, so we made it on a 9 X 13 cookie tray. Perforce, it was a thin-crust pizza. I learned to add a bit of flour to increase the crust, and add barbecue sauce or tomato juice to the kit’s little can of pizza sauce. I grated extra cheddar for the top, but my mom couldn’t tell me what was in the spice mixture. The wife has two racks, with 36 spices, and 24 herbs
Chili is a poor family’s meal. Chili con carne means with meat, and is a small step up. Often people saved money by adding things to the basic recipe, to stretch it, to feed more kids. My wife’s family had nine kids. They needed to stretch it as far as they could.
Basic chili con carne has meat, tomatoes, beans and chili powder. After that, you can be as creative as you want. Normally, the con carne means ground beef, but you can use ground pork, ground turkey – dark meat or light. You can put in steak chunks if you can afford it. The wife’s family’s recipe is below, complete with secret ingredient. With lots of exceptions, women are often, merely cooks, following recipes, and men are the more creative chef types. What I’m saying is, don’t get hung up on how many grains of salt. Find out what works for you and your family, and go with it.
List Of Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
1 large cooking onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped/grated garlic, fresh pressed or bottled – more, or less, to taste
1 – 29 oz. Can diced tomatoes
1 – 19 oz. Can red kidney beans
1 – 12 oz. Can Chili-style beans – Optional – if available, or any type of baked beans
1 – 10 oz. Can mushroom stems and pieces – optional
2 tablespoons chili powder – more, or less, to taste
Tabasco sauce, or equivalent, optional, know your eaters’ tastes and limits
Secret Ingredient/Chili Extender – leftover spaghetti, chopped to 1 to 2 inch pieces. Adds a bit more meat and tomato flavor, as well as cheap carbs. Strictly optional.
Basic instruction, Stir, stir, stir. This is a thick soup/stew.
Chop onion fine
Add onion and garlic, salt and pepper to ground meat in large pot. Break meat up fine and mix with onion/garlic. Cook till done and liquid is driven off. Add tomatoes. Bring back to light boil. Add kidney beans, bring back to heat. Add chili-style or baked beans, bring back to heat. Add mushrooms, if desired, and chopped, cooked spaghetti, a double handful, or as far as you want to stretch it, bring back to heat. I add 6 or 7 drops of Tabasco. BrainRants would use Sriracha. Your tongue may differ. Add desired amount of chili powder and stir well. Total preparation time to this point, including chopping onion and garlic, 45 minutes. Turn heat to minimum and allow to meld. Stir occasionally. A half hour to hour allows flavors to blend. You can add small chunks of cheddar, Monterey Jack, or other cheese to go con queso, stir in, or serve separately. Serve with saltine crackers, nacho-style chips, or toast. Serves four to five hungry men, or an entire church social.
I had a hilarious story about super-hot Texas Chili that I was going to include, but I’ve rambled on too long with this cooking show, and I can’t seem to find it in the computer files. What I think I’ll do is wait a couple of days, until you are allowed back in the house after all these beans, and then post the chili story as a follow-up, when I can find it. Happy eating.