Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The chili recipe

..to all those of you who have asked over the years how I make my chili, only to be annoyed at my answer of: "I don't know, I just empty all the random food from my fridge into a crock pot and then add some spices"  -- well, this time I wrote down everything that I did as I went. 

-- this isn't necessarily 'the' recipe, but it's fairly typical. (notable/significant differences this time:  I forgot to put in coconut, I was out of vanilla, and I added habaneros which I don't usually have, plus, typically I don't put meat in, but it doesn't seem to make any difference meat or not.  it cooks so long you can't tell one way of the other)

in saute pan:  brown:
-- 2 oz butter
-- 1 oz olive oil
--1/2 pound hamburger
--1/2 pd steak

.. set aside (into crock pot), then in same pan:

-- 2 oz butter
-- 1 oz olive oil
--6 med mushroom sliced & diced

..brown for a while, (while cutting next ingredients)

..then add

--1 med onion sliced/julienned

..brown for a while, (while cutting next ingredients)

--1 red pepper sliced/diced

..brown for a while, (while cutting next ingredients)

--2 habaneros split

.. once the onions start to brown, pile all the stuff to one side and shift pan so they aren't over the heat.


-- 2 oz butter
-- 1 oz olive oil
--1 can tomato paste

.. sort of chop up and spread the paste to cover the rest of the pan, stir it around a bit to mix in the oil and then leave it while you open all the canned goods below.

.. it will burn, and this is very important.  you can stir it a bit, but the ideal is that you have a layer about 1mm thick on the bottom that's burnt.  -- if you're really good/lucky, you can get more proportion of the paste  burnt by stirring, but you don't want to get any part of it carbonized,  that's bitter.

.. once it reaches the 'almost-too-burnt' stage, stir the other ingredients in and then shift the whole mess to the crock pot, lifting out the habaneros and discarding.

.. deglaze the pan with:

--3 oz bourbon

.. and put that mixture into the crock pot too.

..then add to the crock pot:

--2 cans kidney beans
--1 can navy beans             
--1 can black beans
--1 oz soy vay teriakki sauce
--tsp cream of tartar
--4 cans whole tomatoes,
--can v8

.. take a potato masher to the tomatoes gently

.. add 16 oz water (in this  case.  basically enough to almost fill the crock pot and make the whole mix watery, about like chx noodle soup)

.. cook for a while (4 hours in this case) and then start adding the remaining ingredients as the pot develops/ I think of/I find other ingredients.  -- this next part takes place over about 36 hours, during which the pot gets set on high for a while, and then turned off while I'm asleep or at work, so it's basically cooking hot and then cooling in cycles for about two days (sometimes three)

[so here's the random ingredients I added during that period, approximately in the order I added them... no real importance to the order from this point on though, with the exception that the starches should go in early, and the 'freshy' type ingredients should go in towards the end.  Basically what I'm doing is tasting it and thinking: "hmm, that could use a little....."

 --- oh! also, be aware that as this reduces it tends to get a lot saltier, so don't salt at all until the very end, even if it tastes really bland, which it will, but you have to anticipate that part]

[also, if you see repeats, that's because there were things put in more than once, at different times]

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 oz honey
4 red peppers
8 oz coconut milk
Tbsp garlic
1 can water chestnut, sliced/diced
4 oz ketchup
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 large carrots
2 stalk celery
1 cup corn
1 tbsp Tim & Todds bbq sauce
2 tbsp tandoori powder
14 cilantro leaves
1 oz vinegar
1 tbsp Mexican spice (something local to KC, but it's something like chili powder with jalapeƱos and lime and that kind of thing... not really sure what)
1 packet hot cocoa mix (with marshmallows)
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tortilla chips crushed
2 tsp steak sauce 
5 lrg Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bunch green onion, sliced into 1cm lengths
1 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tsp horseradish
25 cilantro leaves
2 fresh tomatoes diced

... then, cook until it forms a pretty firm consistency.  things I'll do while approaching this stage for no reason that I know of other than it seems right:  go at it with the potato masher, take the lid off, add water.  

-- now that I read that and think about it: I guess I do know:  I'm trying to balance cooking time of the various ingredients, so if I see too many whole beans or what-not: potato masher, if it looks like everything isn't done, but it's drying out: water, if it looks done-ish, but watery: remove lid to speed evaporation.

.. at about this stage: I'll taste for final effect, and do final modifications to spices, which typically involves salt, pepper, tandoori, and/or sugar, maybe butter.  -- then, cook just a bit more to disperse the spices and turn off the heat.

.. then wait until cool enough to put in portion containers (about 12 hours) and then portion.  then, put those in the fridge (not freezer yet or it gets weird spongy freezer burn (I guess because it cools too fast)... leave in fridge for a day, then put in freezer.

That's it!   simple.  (see why I didn't just rattle it off when you asked?)

we usually eat it like so:

fill a bowl almost full (3/4) with sticky-ish rice.  (then I add butter, Carla doesn't)  and some sweet balsamic vinegar  then top with about 4 oz of the chili mix... it's very strong, so don't eat it straight (because you'll eat too much and your full concentration will be occupied with digesting it for the next day and a half)

but it also makes a decent chip dip.

or on top of chili-dogs.

.. ooh!  I just remembered that I put an apple in there too somewhere.

-- other things that I've put in in the past that worked out:  


ice cream bar


tvp (textured vegetable protien)

fresh coconut

various juices

jar mushrooms

salad bar (mainly corn salad)

mini corn on the cob




spaghetti sauce

the last frozen portion from a prior chili cooking


salad dressing: ranch, thousand island, bleu cheese

cheeses of various sorts







sloppy joes leftovers


enchilada sauce


various legumes

marshmallow fluff

candy bars

soy sauce

oyster sauce


hearts of palm

... you get the idea.

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