Friday Food and Drink Post: Brrrr! Chili!

 

It’s been unseasonably cold here at Chez She for the last week or so, most notably a couple of mornings ago when the thermometer on the North side of the house gleefully reported that it was 9F (-13C) outside when I crawled out of my nice warm bed. So I’ve broken out some of my tried-and-true Winter-Warm-Up recipes (the non-alcoholic ones, for now), and the fridge is full of chicken noodle soup, shepherd’s pie, and chili.

I love chili. And, thanks to my cast-iron stomach, I don’t have to drop the other shoe and follow that with “but chili doesn’t love me,” as so many unfortunates must. I like my chili hot, spicy, beany and with a hunk of warm cornbread on the side. Unfortunately, though, Mr. She doesn’t share my taste, on this matter at least. He dislikes beans. He doesn’t have a cast-iron stomach. And he has fond memories of the “chili” he ate growing up, a watery concoction of my mother-in-law’s, that had ground beef, chopped up onions, chopped up celery, and tomatoes. With elbow macaroni. When he thinks of chili, that’s what he thinks of. Nothing else will do.

Made in Grandma’s way, it’s not something I enjoy all that much. So I’m always on the lookout for a good beanless chili recipe with infinitely adjustable heat levels, and not too long ago, I found the perfect one. The original recipe is here. I’ve adjusted it a bit, and I make it like this:

She’s Slow Cooker “Chili”

3 pounds lean ground beef (I use 93% lean, and don’t bother to drain after browning)
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1 ancho pepper, chopped
24 ounces marinara sauce
14 ounces petite diced tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups beef broth (I use Better than Bouillon, 1 level tablespoon in 3 cups of water)
8 oz elbow macaroni, or small pasta of your choice

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet until no longer pink.
Stir in the dry seasonings then place it into the slow cooker.
Add all remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Cook on 4 hours on high or 8 on low. NOTE: My crockpot isn’t big enough to accommodate all this (you need a five or six-quart one), but I have a “slow cooker” setting on my oven. I brown the beef in a 6-quart dutch oven, add everything into that, and make it in the oven. It makes a lot, so there is always some to freeze.

While it’s cooking: prepare the pasta. Don’t overcook it. Drain and cool. Then put it in some cold water for half an hour or so and drain again. (I find that doing this stops the pasta from soaking up all the liquid in the chili. I do the same thing with noodle soups.) Add as much of the pasta as you like to the chili when it’s finished cooking, and put the rest in the fridge for your little mac-n-Velveeta midnight guilty pleasure. At least, that’s what I do.

You can substitute peppers of your choice, as hot or as mild, or of whatever color you like, and adjust and add to the seasonings and spices as you see fit, or even add your favorite hot sauce variety once it’s in the bowl. It makes a nice, rich meal, especially with that hunk of homemade cornbread I mentioned, on the side. (I suppose, if you wanted to honor my mother-in-law, you could add a cup of so of diced celery, but personally, I find that revolting. YMMV.)

It’s good served with cheese melted on top, with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, crumbled bacon (bacon!), or anything else that tickles your fancy.

Please share a favorite chili, stew, soup, or other recipe for a chilly day. All are welcome, even those con carne!  We don’t discriminate here.  (Well, except about that celery business.)

There are 22 comments.

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    MrsCheese made a shrimp and rice chili last week. She used a store bought chili sauce and our local shrimp. She added honey to the sauce. Fantastic!

    • #1
  2. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Mrs. She, I’m sure your chili is just as tasty as tasty can be.  But the best chili I’ve ever eaten comes in a can: Nalley’s Original Vegetarian chili.  

    In my mind’s eye, I can see your eyebrows rise to their limits, but really, that vegetarian chili is just plain good.

    • #2
  3. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Mrs. She, I’m sure your chili is just as tasty as tasty can be. But the best chili I’ve ever eaten comes in a can: Nalley’s Original Vegetarian chili.

    In my mind’s eye, I can see your eyebrows rise to their limits, but really, that vegetarian chili is just plain good.

    I don’t doubt your word.  We’ve been through vegetarian phases ourselves, and some of the options are delicious.  I actually prefer the Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans to the other sorts.

    They’re especially good with crumbled bacon on top! :)

    • #3
  4. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    I use stew beef, indeed  consider chili to be a beef stew, only with beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and lots of peppers. I no longer add a hot sauce. Nobody’s questioning my masculinity. Or if anybody is, I don’t care.

    As for celery, I have some in my refrigerator so I must use it in something, but I can’t remember what. Well, it is crunchy and green, and those count for something. On my first visit to Brazil, I’d been so appalled by the drabness and foulness of the food that on a side trip to Uruguay, I was elated to see celery in an open-air market. A fresh vegetable that wasn’t cassava – wow! I didn’t buy it; it was enough just to know it was there. I still don’t even know how to say “celery” in Spanish or Portuguese.

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I like the little spice kit that you can buy and season to taste with no wheat (I don’t use the corn masa either).  I start with a can of tomatoes cut up, throw in the cooked ground beef, a handful of regular chopped green peppers (or red or yellow) that I freeze all year, then I add a can (or half) of pinto beans, or kidney beans and a (half) can of black beans. Or you can use all the beans!  A can’s worth of water, maybe a small handful of chopped parsley, and garlic powder (my husband hates onions but I’ll use the little dehydrated onions that come in the pack and he never knows), pepper, to taste, stir and let simmer for at least 90 minutes.  My husband says every batch is my best batch! He likes an apple ale with it.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    John H. (View Comment):
    I still don’t even know how to say “celery” in Spanish or Portuguese.

    Point and grunt.

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She: Please share a favorite chili, stew, soup, or other recipe for a chilly day.

    My wife has a thing for black beans in any soup, stew, or chili. They all start out as black bean soup one day, and then other ingredients are added to the leftovers.

    • #7
  8. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    My recipe is very similar, except for the macaroni, but I understand that Mr. She requires that in yours.  Instead of cocoa powder, I add some of my robust porter homebrewed to have significant and varied chocolate flavors (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and some coffee notes).  My Mom also used caraway seeds and served the chili with a crusty Jewish rye also with caraway. I do too. I also use cubed meat, not ground, and favor pork over beef, but both are excellent, and in the end, if you use the proper amount of peppers, you barely tell the difference. Re: peppers, I add a blend of lots of peppers: poblano, jalapeno, hot yellow Hungarian, Thai peppers, little red chilies, serrano and sweet green. (and any other peppers that might be in the market or my pantry during the moment of creation) 

    I used to add a prodigious amount of celery to my chili, but use it sparingly now, as Lady Gesa has the same opinion of celery as you. 

    Coincidentally, we are having an equestrian event tomorrow at our new home, with a potluck lunch.  I am making chili tonight as my contribution.  Chili always seems better the day after it is made. 

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    My recipe is very similar, except for the macaroni, but I understand that Mr. She requires that in yours. Instead of cocoa powder, I add some of my robust porter homebrewed to have significant and varied chocolate flavors (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and some coffee notes). My Mom also used caraway seeds and served the chili with a crusty Jewish rye also with caraway. I do too. I also use cubed meat, not ground, and favor pork over beef, but both are excellent, and in the end, if you use the proper amount of peppers, you barely tell the difference. Re: peppers, I add a blend of lots of peppers: poblano, jalapeno, hot yellow Hungarian, Thai peppers, little red chilies, serrano and sweet green. (and any other peppers that might be in the market or my pantry during the moment of creation)

    I used to add a prodigious amount of celery to my chili, but use it sparingly now, as Lady Gesa has the same opinion of celery as you.

    Coincidentally, we are having an equestrian event tomorrow at our new home, with a potluck lunch. I am making chili tonight as my contribution. Chili always seems better the day after it is made.

    Great ideas, all.  Thanks.  And I agree that chili ages well.

    • #9
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I make chili every now and then. Can’t say I have a recipe or ever used a measuring spoon while making it. I have a basic idea of what I want to include but it comes down to tossing things in and then tasting until it seems right. Me cooking has a mad scientist feel, but things usually turn out pretty good.

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Me cooking has a mad scientist feel, but things usually turn out pretty good.

    Until you accidentally turned yourself into a newt.

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    See Chili Party Invite on Member Feed.

    • #12
  13. JayMiller Lincoln
    JayMiller
    @JayMiller

    We had a chili joint down the street from me growing up that had hot sauce and sweet pickle relish on the tables for chili condiments. I have had to have a spoon full of pickle relish in my bowl of chili ever since. You may think it sounds nuts but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I also like pickle relish on the inside of my grilled cheese sandwiches. May be my German heritage and love of pickled vegetables (including sauerkraut)?

    • #13
  14. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Chili mac!  (is a detective down in Texas)

    • #14
  15. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JayMiller (View Comment):

    We had a chili joint down the street from me growing up that had hot sauce and sweet pickle relish on the tables for chili condiments. I have had to have a spoon full of pickle relish in my bowl of chili ever since. You may think it sounds nuts but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I also like pickle relish on the inside of my grilled cheese sandwiches. May be my German heritage and love of pickled vegetables (including sauerkraut)?

    I know quite a few people who do the pickle relish thing on grilled cheese.  Will try it in chili!

    • #15
  16. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Arahant (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):
    I still don’t even know how to say “celery” in Spanish or Portuguese.

    Point and grunt.

    So, “point” is Spanish and “grunt” is Portuguese?

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Eeyore (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):
    I still don’t even know how to say “celery” in Spanish or Portuguese.

    Point and grunt.

    So, “point” is Spanish and “grunt” is Portuguese?

    Oh, for Cod’s sake. El apio and o aipo.

    • #17
  18. DesertDwarf Inactive
    DesertDwarf
    @DesertDwarf

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Me cooking has a mad scientist feel, but things usually turn out pretty good.

    Until you accidentally turned yourself into a newt.

    Gingrich? Is that you?

    • #18
  19. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Not quite on topic, but some northerners seem to have a different use for chili….

    • #19
  20. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Not quite on topic, but some northerners seem to have a different use for chili….

    Glory be.  From the article:

    The jury found that Stanton flew into a rage at Giarrusso’s grandmother’s house Nov, 18, 2017, in Salina, cracked his friend’s skull with a blunt object and then stabbed him numerous times, the kitchen knife blade breaking off in Giarrusso’s back.

    Stanton then loaded his friend’s body into a car, along with other bloody items from the scene, and haphazardly threw grandmother’s chili — which she left simmering in the kitchen — across the bloody living room floor. He then drove the car to an apartment complex off Morgan Road and left it there.

    It’s unclear why Stanton and Giarrusso, longtime friends who apparently did drugs together, ended up at odds.

    I think grandma is the culprit.  Bet she put celery in the chili.  That does funny things to people.

    • #20
  21. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Me cooking has a mad scientist feel, but things usually turn out pretty good.

    Until you accidentally turned yourself into a newt.

    But you got better . . .  :)

    • #21
  22. Richard Finlay Member
    Richard Finlay
    @RichardFinlay

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I make chili every now and then. Can’t say I have a recipe or ever used a measuring spoon while making it. I have a basic idea of what I want to include but it comes down to tossing things in and then tasting until it seems right. Me cooking has a mad scientist feel, but things usually turn out pretty good.

    My wife has a recipe for chili but I just ad lib. I am willing to bet (small sums) that no one else has made chili with raisins.

    • #22

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