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Chili – Cook-Off 15


Chris Amirault
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Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our fifteenth Cook-Off, we're making chili. I'll admit that most cook-off dishes are inspired by compelling tales from eGulleteers, or particularly memorable dishes, or somesuch. This time around, it was the What is wrong with this chili thread that did it. In that thread lurks a recipe so utterly defiling that it forced me to do a cook-off to erase the Frankenchili from memory. Click, ye who dare.

But chili seems a good cook-off dish for a lot of reasons. There's lots of secret tricks (peanut butter, cinnamon, baby arugula and fig jam blink.gif) to share; cuts of meat must be discussed; the great bean debate can be commenced, as can those devoted to rice, cheese, onions, sour cream, chocolate chips (I'm not kidding), and other toppings. Who knows: someone might actually post a vegetarian chili and risk ridicule from a Lone Star Stater!

Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is boiling over with experts ready to share ideas and recipes for this dish. Start by clicking here,here,here,and here.We've also got RecipeGullet recipes here,here,here,here (purists beware),here (ditto),and here (double ditto).

You got a beef about how chili must be made? Let's hear it! Get out the dutch ovens and crock pots, people!

And if anyone wants to take a crack at the Frankenchili, we're all dying to know!

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Ah, I should have taken pictures, and anticipated this one.

It was chili tonight here.

That pound and a half of ground venison that was rolling around in the freezer. That couple of cans of kidney beans feeling lost an abandoned in the pantry. A few onions and cloves of garlic (organic, from the farmer's market). One big can of tomatoes, to which I took a potato masher. A lone can of Rotel Tomatoes. Another lone can -- this one of "diced green chilis." And, some toasted spices which I tossed together. A mess of ground dried peppers and cumin.

A virtual garbage pail, some would say. Delish to us, we would say. He Who Doesn't Eat (young Peter, age 9) had four servings, saying -- "mom, it's got something that makes my nose run and my tummy feel good."

In the embarrassing department, Diana dug some Jiffy cornbread mix out of the cupboard, two boxes full, and made muffins. It wasn't until I broke the boxes down to recycle that I realized that they were best used a year ago. Do pay attention to some of those "best use by" dates. But, a ton of butter and many glugs of honey...d

Tell me more about chili, fellow members. Mine was born of desperation. That it's 4:00 pm and everyone needs to eat in about 2-1/2 hours, and I've been busy working syndrome.

Oh. garnishes were fresh chipped cilantro, minced onion, and grated cheese (all of those little bits in the deli drawer of the fridge. I also added a few big blobs of Chipotle Tabasco.

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Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I think I'm in! :wacko:

Actually, the last time I made chili from scratch, which was about 5 years ago, my son said he'd like some hot dogs with the chili. Mind you, this was a teenaged Indonesian boy, who's never had or seen a chili dog in his life (yet).

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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He Who Doesn't Eat (young Peter, age 9) had four servings, saying -- "mom, it's got something that makes my nose run and my tummy feel good."

Actually, the last time I made chili from scratch, which was about 5 years ago, my son said he'd like some hot dogs with the chili.  Mind you, this was a teenaged Indonesian boy, who's never had or seen a chili dog in his life (yet).

I want them on my team!

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I have a pan of chili sitting in the refrigerator for tomorrow's dinner....

It isn't one I am particularly proud of as it is a really simple one from the Betty Crocker Cookbook but my family loves it and it is so easy to throw together.

I think I am ready to learn something new!!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Kristin, can you get decent chuck over there? The transformation beef makes in chili is one of cooking's most magical things to me....

I usually use ground beef... :hmmm:

what part of the cow is chuck again?

Didn't we have this conversation before?? I have a really bad memory. :sad:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Oh.  garnishes were fresh chipped cilantro, minced onion, and grated cheese (all of those little bits in the deli drawer of the fridge.  I also hadded a few big blobs of Chipotle Tabasco.

The garnishes are my favorite part of the chili!

I also add tabasco as I make it on the mild side for the kids (the chipolte one is my new favorite :biggrin: ) For tomorrow's I have cilantro, scallions and yogurt.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Ooh, chili. I'll play, probably this weekend; Lord knows the weather here is practically screaming for chili. The recipe I use is a modified version of one that (I think) came from Sara Moulton. It's not terribly adventurous but it tastes good to me. And I always, always have Jiffy cornbread to go with.

Jennie

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Kristin, can you get decent chuck over there? The transformation beef makes in chili is one of cooking's most magical things to me....

I usually use ground beef... :hmmm:

what part of the cow is chuck again?

Didn't we have this conversation before?? I have a really bad memory. :sad:

In the fore-shoulder, neck, and blade region: click here for a diagram and article.

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Garnishes and go-withs?

We like scallions, chopped shallots / regular yellow onion. Shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream & chives to scatter and top our chili.

Corn seems the way to go: cornbread, corn chips. Chili seems like it might be delicious as a baked potato topping. We like it on rice, too, but what other vehicles or accompaniments are good?

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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The references to the Jiffy boxes make me want to give a shout out to andiesenji's great cornbread thread.

Wow, that is some hellafied cornbread right there. *drool*

I only eat the Jiffy with chili because for some reason that taste combination reminds me of my childhood (which, sadly, consisted largely of Freezer Queen meals, so you can see where the Jiffy cornbread would've been a source of excitement).

I also, shamefully I'm sure, usually make my chili with ground meat. I used chuck and pork shoulder last time, and it was good, but it wasn't what I wanted, you know?

Jennie

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OK . . . I have gotta play in this one. First, I found this great site that gets into the history of the dish. That should give us some things to er . . . discuss. :laugh:

That being said, my dad cooked the chili in the family. Once he came across the Pedernales River Chili that was the one he pretty much stuck with. He was a bit suspicious of the tomato and sometimes left that out and upped the amount of ancho powder (he toasted and ground the anchos himself) saying that is was more of a "purist" approach to the sacred stew.

Then, a few years ago, I saw this recipe in Southern Living for something called "Bodacious Chili." It was so far off the wall that I had to try it. Touregsand's picture with the chickpeas reminded me of this. Over the years I have adjusted the seasonings and some of the ingredients quite a bit. The kids demand it every year. And it really is pretty. I will probably be sent to the seventh ring of hell for this heresy (I am a Texan, after all.) but here goes:

Whacked-Out Chili

2 lbs chuck in ½” cubes

2 large onions chopped

3 stalks celery cut in 1” pieces

1 large red bell pepper chopped

6 jalapenos, seeded and diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms (Portobellos are really good)

8 cloves garlic minced

3 T olive oil

Start meat in oil and when beginning to brown add other ingredients. Continue to cook on medium high until vegetables begin to cook.

Stir in:

3 T cocoa

4 T ancho chili powder

1 t cayenne or arbol (optional)

1 T cumin seeds

1 T dried Mexican oregano

1 T paprika

1 t ground tumeric

½ t salt or more to taste

1 t ground cardamom

1 t ground pepper

1 T molasses

1 cup red wine

2 cans chopped tomatoes

1 can drained kidney beans

1 can drained garbanzos

Simmer covered for 1 ½ hours.

Serve with cornbread (I do the andiesenji type) and toppings of your choice. We particularly like sour cream.

That being said, another of my very favorite chili recipes is the one from Huevos del Toro, Work in Progress Chili. This recipe is where I learned the trick of putting in whole cumin seeds. They cook up nice and tender and you get a pleasant cumin burst in your mouth.

Now that we have gotten our first "cold front" (high tomorrow low 70s) I am going to have to cook up a batch of chili for the freezer that I emptied prior to the Rita Bug-Out. But I have to decide which one! :wacko:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Fifi, you or anyone are welcome to try my award winning Turkey, black Bean and Chorizo chili recipe HERE. I'm afraid I won't have time this weekend to participate nor do I need a batch of chili that big for just little 'ol me. But it is quite tasty and always is a crowd pleaser.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Garnishes and go-withs?

We like scallions, chopped shallots / regular yellow onion.  Shredded Cheddar  cheese, sour cream & chives to scatter and top our chili.   

Corn seems the way to go:  cornbread, corn chips. Chili seems like it might be delicious as a baked potato topping.  We like it on rice, too,  but what other vehicles or accompaniments are good?

You could always do as the folks in Cincinnati, Ohio do, and serve your chili on your namesake pasta. :smile:

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Okay, I'm going to have to buy more ground beef on my next shopping trip and make another batch for this cook-off.

Chili is one of my favorite dishes. I usually make it in a Crock-Pot, which produces chili that is a little more liquid than the kind I made on the stovetop. It usually goes pretty quickly when I serve it at parties. The basic ingredients are the same from batch to batch, but no two batches are alike.

My contribution to the Great Ingredient Debate is the following:

Chili is one of those dishes where it's best to use fattier ground beef. Even though you still drain off as much of the fat as you can, the fattier beef carries the spices better and gives better consistency.

Chili is also a dish that gets better each time you reheat it.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I've got a few pounds of chuck sitting in my freezer that I was about to use for a beef ragu with polenta but this thread may make me change my mind about that. I've also got some old roasted poblanos in there that it is about high time that I used, so if I do decide to go the chili route it will be with some NM Green (with potatoes). A lot of people just use straight NuMex peppers but I really like the quality that the poblanos give, plus they really stand up to the longer cooking time a lot better, so I use a blend of the two. The real key is to reserve at least a third of your chiles for the final 15 minutes or so of your cooking time.

One of my favorite toppings is to simply take shredded corn tortillas and flash fry them in oil. It works for green or red- otherwise I just leave my green chili unadorned.

Another idea is to add little masa harina dumplings, which I'll freely admit to stealing from Rick Bayless, but they work particularly well with a sauce made from guajillos and/or anchos. He uses them in a black bean stew (with chopped greens- I use spinach myself) that could broadly be called a vegetarian chili if you were so inclined.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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I have made chili once in my life and it came out really good.. It was a recipe from Rick Bayless's: Rick and Lanies Excellent Adventure.. Its a really solid recipe,.. My question is the only meat I have in the house is hanger steak. Anyone think this will go well cubed in Chli, or do I go to the store?

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I have made chili once in my life and it came out really good.. It was a recipe from Rick Bayless's: Rick and Lanies Excellent Adventure.. Its a really solid recipe, I think..  My question is the only meat I have in the house is hanger steak.  Anyone think this will go well cubed in Chli, or do I go to the store?

I have such a hard time finding hangar steak that I'd go to the store and get a nice piece of chuck, or even use pork butt.

I know beef is traditional, but anyone else ever use pork?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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If you put that beautiful hanger steak into chili, Daniel, I'll cry.

In my house, we mostly eat a low-carb low-fat chili made with ground turkey, onion, garlic, lots of tomatoes, and a smorgasbord of spices. It's ordinary but very satisfying and quick and easy to put together. (My husband does the low-carb thing, and we both try not to eat a ton of beef.) We eat it which cheddar cheese and sour cream on top. I used to make a vegetarian chili often in my vegetarian days--lots of pintos and kidneys (I used to soak and cook massive quantities and freeze in Ziplocs), sometimes some "Boca crumbles" for a meaty texture, rice, tomatoes, onion, garlic and the aforementioed spice array. Back then we ate it with blue corn tortilla chips. Ooh, it was good.

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