Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chili Recipe

Here is a chili recipe I made up! I had never made chili in my life, but was compelled to do so. Why? Because at my Master Gardener class, someone had brought in a basket of (presumably home-grown) mysterious hot-looking peppers on the snack table. I decided to take one of each and make a large quantity of food that could handle whatever spicy level came forth from the peppers. Hence, chili! After gleaning some ideas from several cookbooks, I cobbled together my first chili.

And it rocks!!! Arvonn was duly impressed, and I was pleasantly surprised that this chili tasted so magically delicious. So I just had to share -- if you feel so inclined, I wholeheartedly recommend trying it for yourself!

1. Get out a huge pot (with lid). This makes a LOT, but that's what freezers are for!
2. Brown ~2.5 lbs hamburger in said pot. Take it out when done, set aside.
3. Chop/dice a medium onion and throw it in the pot (still on medium heat).
4. Add ~3 Tbsp. chopped garlic and cook till onions start getting clear.
5. Add ~4 Tbsp. EACH of cumin, chili powder, paprika.
6. Add ~0.5 tsp. black pepper
7. Add ~1 tsp. celery seed
8. Now, I added half of each of my mystery peppers (one of which I think was a Scotch Bonnet), but in retrospect I think the proper heat could be obtained by using one whole habanero pepper, diced as small as possible, no seeds. Yes, the little red pepper of DOOM! I suppose you could adjust to taste if you are a wimp. Don't worry, I used to be a spicy food wimp myself, but now I am bold and brassy!
**SAFETY NOTE: Be sure to wear gloves when cutting Peppers of Doom, and wash cutting surfaces and knifes thoroughly, and don't touch your eyes, etc.!!**
9. So this stuff is all cooking away, now deglaze the pot with 0.5 cup of white wine (or beer, which I wanted to use but didn't have). Stir.
10. Add back the beef!
11. Add a capful of Liquid Smoke, the flavor enhancer of the gods.
12. Add 3 (~16 oz.) cans of kidney beans, 1 (~15 oz.) can of diced tomato and
13. 32 oz. of medium salsa. I bought a huge 64-oz. jar at Costco for just this purpose, and had lots leftover for chip-dippy fun. I guess any salsa would do!
14. Add ~4 Tbsp. honey AND ~4 Tbsp. molasses.
15. Stir, heat through, and let simmer for, I dunno, at least a couple hours, with the lid ajar. I had it going all afternoon. Do not worry about the spice level as you sample it; it will come out perfectly!
16. I let it sit off the heat for an hour for flavor melding and thickening and all that. DONE!

Enjoy with big hunks of bread (yes, I was crazy and simultaneously made a random loaf of brown Finnish bread from scratch) and/or tortilla chips. Eat while watching Babylon 5. Drink milk. Enjoy your surprisingly-full belly from only 1 bowl. Sneak a bit more if you want. Pat yourself on the back for having a supertasty snack/meal on your hands and a freezerful for another time!

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