Chilly Nights Are Just Right For Chili

IN THE KITCHEN

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One of my favorite dishes is chili with cornbread. I keep it simple though.

1 to 2 pounds ground beef

1 regular size can chili beans

1 small onion chopped, or equivalent in onion powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

3 to 4 tablespoons chili powder

dash of cayenne red pepper

2 to 4 small cans tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef, add other ingredients, mix well and simmer until heated through. Serve with cornbread or tortillas, crackers or toast.

I don't drain the browned beef or the liquid from the canned beans. I prefer using onion powder to chopped onions -- I don't like the sensation of cooked onions in my mouth.

This chili is actually better reheated the day after it has been made, but it's perfectly fine when it's fresh.

I have also made chili from ground turkey, using the same recipe, but upping the spices some for a stronger flavor.

The cornbread I make is usually just from a boxed mix -- also fast and nothing fancy.

Another "form" of cornbread results when you make Corn Casserole.

Corn Casserole

2 eggs

1 package cornbread mix

1 can creamed corn

1/4 cup milk

1/4 to 1/3 cup melted margarine

1 large can green chilies (diced are best for this)

1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly, stir in cornbread mix, corn, milk and margarine.

Grease a six-cup casserole with oil and pour in half of mixture. Top with half of cheese and all of chilies, add rest of mix and top with remaining cheese.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is another dish that is better -- and more like bread -- if you let it sit overnight and serve it with the reheated chili, either alongside or on top of it.

Do an Internet search for chili recipes and it will boggle your mind. These are for the serious chili cookers, those that don't mind a ton of work and hours of time on the stove.

Some examples are from: www.lookd.com/recipies/chili

Numero Uno Chili

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped, about 4 cups

2 pounds coarsely ground beef (shank, shoulder or chuck)

2 pounds coarsely ground pork

salt

1/3 cup mild, unseasoned chile powder

3 tablespoons ground cumin, from toasted seeds, if possible

3 tablespoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste

4 cups tomato juice

3 cups beef stock or canned broth

8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal as optional thickener (more as needed)

32 ounces dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm the oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a 4 to 5 quart heavy flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine beef and pork. Season with 2 tablespoons salt and cook, stirring often, until meat has lost all its pink color and is evenly crumbled, about 20 minutes.

Scrape onions into casserole with meats. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in tomato juice and beef stock. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Taste, correct seasonings and simmer another 30 minutes or until chili is thickened to your liking. Stir in garlic. To thicken chili further or to bind any surface fats, stir in the optional cornmeal. Stir in the beans and simmer another 5 minutes.

Serves 6 or more.

Texas Beef Chili

2 pounds beef chuck or shin, in 1/2-inch cubes

8 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons medium-hot chili powder

1 pound Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick

3 medium onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

4 pounds canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

24 ounces beer, Dos Equis or other Mexican beer

6 ounces tomato paste

Toss meat with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons chili powder in non-aluminum bowl. Let stand in refrigerator overnight.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches (do not crowd) on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large pot, using slotted spoon. Add chorizo to skillet and brown well. Transfer to pot using slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add more oil to skillet, if necessary. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir 3 minutes then transfer to pot. Stir in tomatoes, beer and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours. Uncover during last hour if necessary to thicken liquid into sauce.

Serves 6 generously.

Sen. Barry Goldwater's Expert Chili

1 pound coarsely ground beef

1 pound dried pinto beans

1, 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 cups chopped onions

3 tablespoons hot unspiced chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

salt

water

Soak beans in water, covered overnight. In a large Dutch oven, cook beef until browned, stirring to keep crumbly, Drain off drippings, if needed.

Add tomato paste, onions and drained beans.

Mix chili powder, cumin and season to taste with salt. Stir into mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 5 hours.

Serves 6

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