Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kickoff Chili!

Hello, everyone!  Happy Thursday!  I don't know if you're aware, but college football has started.  That means, that for the next few months, all of my Saturdays (and, sometimes on Thursdays!) are booked up!  That also means that fall is upon us.  Pumpkin spiced everything, hoodies, crisp air and crunchy leaves....and chili.  Chili in my family was always a big deal, and served at almost every football game!  Load it up with toppings of your choice, and you have a perfect meal to eat while screaming at the TV!  Because, if we're being honest, the team and refs can totally hear us!
This is not the chili recipe that I grew up with, but one that I have developed over the years, and I think it's a real winner!  It's a little bit spicy (I don't do spicy taste buds don't handle it well), it has beer in it, and it's full of beans and meat!  Top it with enough cheese to instantly clog an artery, a sweet, buttery piece of cornbread and I'm in heaven!
Here's your grocery list for this one (and yes, it's a long one!):
1 head of garlic
1 Tbs vegetable oil
4-5 tsp Kosher salt, for stew meat
1 lb. of ground beef
1.5 - 2 lbs. lean stew meat
2 bell peppers, diced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 bottle of beer; I like an IPA, but a stout or lager would work as well
2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1/2 C chili powder (yes, it's a lot, but this makes a TON of chili)
2 Tbs garlic powder (yep, on top of the whole head of garlic)
2 Tbs. paprika
1/2 Tbs cayenne pepper (or, to taste)
1 Tbs dried parsley flakes
1 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 Tbs dried thyme
2-4 dried bay leaves
32 oz. can of tomato sauce

Toppings of choice

Yes, I know....I know....that sounds like a lot of ingredients, and it really is.  However, most of this is probably stuff you already have on hand.  Since it mostly all just gets tossed into the pot, this is going to go pretty quickly, so let's get started!  To start off with, chop up the entire head of garlic; I like to do this very quickly in a mini food processor.  This is one of the jobs that my daughter loves to do!  She likes to push the button so that it sounds like a race car (she is a massive "Cars" fan!).  

Also go ahead and prep your bell peppers; I like to use red and yellow, because it just looks prettier.  That being said, regular green bell peppers are usually about half the cost, and honestly, in a chili, you don't notice the color that much anyway!  I just happened to get these on a good sale.

Now that that is done, let's turn our attention to the meat!  I like to have two different cuts of meat, the ground meat that really cooks down, and chunks of stew meat, so that you actually have something to bite into.  It's really a nice combination, in my opinion.  In a large pot (because this does make a ton of chili), heat up the vegetable oil until it shimmers.  As you can see, this pot has had a lot of love over the years...I use this thing for everything.
Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add in the stew meat, in a single layer.  You will probably need to do this in batches.  If you add too much meat in, and crowd the pot, you'll end up with steamed meat, not beautifully seared meat.  I like to put the meat in, sprinkle it with some salt, and let it sit in the pan for about 3 minutes, before touching it.  Then I give it a stir, and scoop it out with a slotted spoon.  Once the first batch has come out, the next batch goes directly in.  

By the time your last batch has been browned, your pot will have a nice layer of flavor on the bottom of the pot.  DO NOT REMOVE THIS!  Just keep moving, this will help flavor your chili as it cooks.  This is good stuff!  Add your ground beef to this, and let it brown up!

Instead of pouring the fat off of the ground beef, I like to take some paper towels, and, using tongs, just use the paper towels to absorb the fat; that way it can go directly into the trash.

Once your ground beef has browned, add in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add in the tomato paste, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Add in the bell peppers, and, again, cook for a minute or two.  While the bell pepper are getting to know everything else, go on and open up the beans, and drain them off.

Add in all of the spices, and mix well.  Once they're all incorporated, stir in the beans.

Now, everybody in the pool!  Add in the beans, the stew meat (you can see that I forgot my thyme and bay they go, too!), beer, broth and tomato sauce.

Cover this and let it simmer for 3-4 hours; if it gets too thick, add in some more beef broth.  If it doesn't thicken up to your tastes, take the lid off and let it simmer with the lid off!  I like to serve this with tons of cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a beautiful slice of cornbread!