Sunday, July 10, 2005

It's Chili Time

This is the recipe for the chili that I inherited from my grandmother. Due to the lack of room in the crockpot, I didn't put any beans in it, which is really the way chili should be. I'm saving those for the red beans and rice dish I'm making this afternoon. This recipe is sized for a medium (two and half quart) crockpot.


One medium crockpot, one large skillet, a colander and the usual knives, spatulas, spoons, etc. You'll notice the measurements are not entirely exact. It's just the way I cook.


  • About three pounds ground beef. 20% fat has the best flavor. Just drain the fat off in the colander after cooking.
  • 2 28-ounce cans of crushed whole tomatoes.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped.
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped.
  • 2 to 3 jalapeno peppers chopped and seeded. If you don't like your chili too hot remove the white membranes. That's where the heat really is, not the seeds. You can up the pepper content to your liking.
  • 1 small head garlic, minced. Yes, that's head, not a clove, of garlic. Of course you can use less. But why would you want to?
  • Chili seasoning, whichever generic one you like.
  • Kosher or sea salt. I prefer kosher salt.
  • Fresh ground pepper. If you don't have a pepper grinder, you can use course ground pepper. Regular fine ground pepper disappears tastewise unless you really load it up. Don't do that, it just a bad idea. It just won't taste right.
  • Olive oil, one - two teaspoons.


Here's what you do:

C hop the onion and green pepper. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the jalapenos.

Y'all pay attention now: Jalapenos can pack an unwelcome wallop if not prepared with care. If you take care when you are preparing them, or any other member of the capsicum genus, you can enjoy them the way they are meant to be, and not have to worry about "hot eye" or mouth syndrome.

Here's some guidelines: If you have disposable food gloves (and every cook should), put them on and the oil won't get on your hands and transfer the hot goodness that should go into your mouth into unwanted areas, like your eyes.

When you chop your pepper, slice off the stem, then slice the pepper in half lengthwise. You'll see the seeds look like the seeds of the green pepper you cut earlier. Now the hotness is not concentrated in the is in the white membrane, the ribs of the pepper! If you want a totally mild chili, take your knife and remove all the membrane you see. I can never remember doing this myself, but others might not like the amount of heat I do.

Chopping the jalapenos, and any pepper, is easiest when you chop the skin side down. For jalapenos, I usually cut a quarter inch strip lengthwise and then bunch them together and cut into quarter inch dice.

When you are through cutting the jalapenos, take off your gloves and using your knife, push the leftover membrane and seeds are left into one of the gloves. Fold it over and shove it into the other glove, tie it off and discard. Toss in the garbage. That way if a child or pet gets curious about garbage while you blink, at least you can snatch it back safely. If you have a garbage disposal, put the seeds and membrane down that. Better yet compost them.

If you get the oil on your hands, soak them for about three minutes in milk, and discard the milk. If you get the oil in your eyes, daub 2 cotton balls in milk, put your feet up and the cotton balls on both eyes. What, the oil's only in one eye? C' long as you are doing one eye, do both. It's relaxing! Two minutes usually does the trick. (Unless you've had a very hectic day, wink, wink!)

And now back to the show...

Heat the pan and add the olive oil. Saute the pepper, onions and jalapeno together over medium heat until they are barely soft but not translucent. They will cook more in the crockpot. Set them in your crockpot.

Saute the hamburger in the pan you sauteed the veggies, adding salt, pepper and about a tablespoon of chili seasoning. Cook until all the pinkness is gone. Drain fat off in colander, and make darn tootin sure you was that baby good afterwards!

Add one can of crushed peppers to the crockpot then add the hamburger. Using a sturdy spoon or a clean hand (one of the most versatile kitchen tools ever) mix ingredients together thoroughly. Add a heaping tablespoon of chili powder, the second can of tomatoes, and repeat. The crockpot shouldn't be completely full or it will boil over. If it is, remove enough of the mix to leave a one inch space below the rim. You can cook whatever you removed in a small pan on the stovetop for a quick "I can't wait until the chili is done" treat (covered on medium heat, 20 minutes or so).

Put the lid on the crockpot, turn to high and cook for one hour. Check your seasoning at this point, add more if you want and turn the heat to low. Cook for another three hours. About 30 minutes before serving check the hotness. If you want to add more chili powder, do it now and remember: you can always put more in but you can't take it out. Add a little at a time until you are happy with the flavor. Cover, let it cook for another half hour, then serve.

There are all sorts of things you can serve on the side or on top of this: chopped onions, peppers, jalapeno slices, sour cream, guacamole, tortilla chips, cornbread, even chopped pineapples. (Don't knock it unless you've tried it.) Keep some Tabasco sauce around so people can add more heat if they want. Heck, why not start a collection of different hot sauces? You never know what culinary mood might strike you!
You can make this entirely on the stovetop, but the long cooking in the crockpot really makes it flavorful!

This is the basic recipe that I use when I'm working around the house and want a quick chili. I have lots of other recipes in the vault!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.