Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Epic Chili

I think every person with Texas roots has their own variation of chili. My father, who was born and raised in Texas, refused to eat beans in his chili. But the chili that is beanless in my neck of the woods is just a sauce, not a meal. My mother, who was born and raised in Kansas City, had a different version. Guess who cooked?


1 lb beans, black, red, pinto, kidney, whatever you like in your chili
1 lb meat, ground or cubed(again, I'm partial to buffalo, but beef is good, too)
16-32 oz tomato products(salsa, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc)
an onion or two, diced finely
3-6 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
diced green chilies(I use a small 4 oz can)
1/4 cup mild red chili powder
Salt to taste

First cook the beans. Its a popular misconception that they must be soaked first. Not true. Put them in about a gallon of water and cook for 2-3 hours. Cook them until they are starting to get tender. Then brown the meat with the onion and garlic in a separate pan. Add to the beans when browned. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, oregano and chili powder. If you have other seasonings you like to add at this point, go right ahead, like cayenne or something like that. Let cook for 30 -60 minutes longer until the beans are soft. Now, you can eat it now or allow it to continue cooking until the beans fall apart. The longer you let it cook, the more the flavors will meld and the better it will be. Serve with cheese, sour cream, crema Mexicana, rice, chips, tortillas, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or anything else you like to to doctor your chili with. Some people like to serve it with baked potatoes or cornbread. Again, what ever sounds good. Life is about feeling good about what you eat. This is a good meal because the beans are high in fibers that reduce the risk of colon cancer and illness over all.

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