Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chili for a Chilly Day

Some days chili is the answer.  It doesn't matter what the question may be; chili is the answer.  Is it bone chilling cold where you are?  Do you want something hot, spicy and hearty for dinner?  Are you entertaining a group and need a tasty, budget friendly meal?  Chili is the answer.

I haven't made chili in quite some time.  You know how sometimes you get an urge for something and you just can't rest until you have it?  Well, that happened this week with chili.  So, of course I had to make it.  When I went to get out my standby chili recipe I couldn't find it.  I guess it has been quite some time since I last made chili! 

So I searched out a recipe that was most like the one I remembered making.  I found a recipe from Emeril Lagasse that seemed very similar to my old recipe with three key ingredient additions-beer, chocolate and Emeril's Essence.  I decided to give the recipe a try and share the results with all of you.  I tweaked Emeril's recipe a bit to reflect my tastes and encourage you to do the same.



Ingredients
adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Serves 6
The Chili Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril's Southwest Essence
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2-ounce (1/2 square) unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the ground beef and brown it well, about 10 minutes. You'll want good browning for the best flavor.  Add the onions, chili powder, cumin, Southwest Essence, cayenne, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes, and bay leaf.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Browned Beef, Onions and Seasonings

Next, add the beer and cook about 1 minute, loosen any beef bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, brown sugar, and chocolate to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil.



Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If any fat has accumulated you'll want to skim it from the pot.  Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings.  Add the beans, return to a simmer, cover, and cook until thickened, about 1 1/2 hours longer.


Beer and Beans Added
  
Taste again and adjust the seasonings.  Is it flavorful?  Does it pack the punch you are looking for?  Serve your chili with the shredded cheese, chopped green onions and cilantro as garnish.  Add your favorite cornbread and watch the chili disappear.
Ready to Enjoy!



 "How was it?" you ask.  It was delicious.  There are so many seasonings in this recipe you can really adjust the proportions to your taste.  Want more punch?  Add more chili powder, crushed red pepper, or cayenne.  You don't like red kidney beans?  Substitute with the beans you like.  Do you want chunks of tomatoes in your chili?  Use whole tomatoes.  The possibilities are endless!


As the March winds are blowing, plan to make this chili.  It will warm you through and through.  Click the link for the printable Chili recipe.


Enjoy!


Donna

5 comments:

  1. I have never made chili with chocolate before. I can't wait to try this.

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  2. I also have never heard of putting chocolate in chili before. I'll have to try that. I use ground turkey or chicken in my chili because I don't eat red meat. I wonder how much of a difference that would make in the taste?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amy, it would be delicious with ground turkey or chicken as well. I've made chili with ground turkey before and I have also made an all vegetable chili. It's all about the seasonings!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This looks yummy. I am going to make it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I concur with Gloria and Amy....chocolate in chili, never heard of it.....I applaud you, to be on top of the cutting edge of ingredients in recipes. Keep your tips coming!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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