Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chili Con Carne with Beans

Chili recipes are like moms, everybody has one and everyone thinks theirs is the best.

Growing up in Florida, the chili that I had always had beans in it. But in Texas, where chili originated, putting beans in chili is almost considered to be a criminal offense (Epicurious).

The International Chili Society rules for chili cookoffs explicitly define red chili as " any kind of meat or combination of meats,cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of
BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden".
But interestingly enough, those
same rules require that entries for the Peoples Choice category require either beans or pasta. WTF?

So that tells me whether or not to use beans in chili is up to me and I choose to use them. Here's my spin on chili.

Chris' Favorite Chili
1 pound Ground beef lean
1 pound Chorizo sausage
1 ea onion diced
1 ea Bell pepper diced
1 can kidney beans dark red, drained
1 can kidney beans light red, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) Tomato diced
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
1 ea Jalapeno peppers seeded and finely diced
12 ounce beer
2 cloves garlic diced
1 ea bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoon Chili powder

Brown ground beef in a cast iron dutch oven or large pot. Remove and drain grease. Brown the sausage and remove with a slotted spoon.

Add onion and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and chile pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes..

Return meat to pot. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, at least 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf.
Serve while hot with cheese and a hearty bread or Texas toast.

Today's batch benefited from some of the last of the red Hungarian wax peppers in our front yard.

This recipe works fine on stove top, but to me it's even better cooked in a dutch oven on the grill.

As the weather turns cold, ceramic cookers like the Big Green Egg really show their strength. Their thick 1+" of insulation are very resistant to cold weather. We had freeze warnings last night but here the Egg is chugging away at 350f with no problem.

I, unfortunately, do not come with ceramic insulation, so I threw some split hickory in the chiminea to keep me warm.

Every time I took the lid off to stir the chili, the steam wafted into the cold air.

This is a simple tip but it makes a difference. When toasting bread for garlic bread or Texas toast, most people seem to slather the bread in the butter mixture and then grill it. That makes it soggy, IMHO. I like to grill it first and as it firms up, give it a light brushing with the butter/seasoning mixture that I warmed on the grill.

It all came together just in time for a comforting lunch.

So, what's your opinion: beans or no beans?