- Joined: 7/28/2007
- Location: Lake Placid, FL
RE: Let's see the recipes - here is mine
Wed, 01/9/08 9:20 PM
Originally posted by Foodbme
Originally posted by craven.sean
Hate to say it but I have to go with the "chili is a generic term crowd." Like it or not, usage is what determines the validity of a word in the long run. I sympathize with your pain, but it would probably be a good idea to recognize the inevitable and suck it up...
On the other hand, incessant bitching doesn't cost anything and it's a great hobby, right up there with tropical fish and vehicular homicide. Don't let me rain on your charade.
I will confess that there were a number of times that I looked at a recipe on this list and recoiled in horror... only to think it through and decide that I'd at least like to try a bowl before rendering judgment. This is obviously a ripe field for the display of eccentricity, but in my experience once you get certain flavors in the mix the essential nature of chili goes away and you wind up with a sort of muddy spaghetti sauce if you're lucky. I've got an amusingly appalling cookbook with a recipe for Chinese Chili by Buddy Hackett. It contains canned bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Brrr...
I've been experimenting with chili since I was given a bowl of roast beef chili as a child. It was a restaurant meal and I'm pretty sure it was the result of having to find a use for leftovers but it was incredible. So I had to try and figure out how to beat it. (I'm working on giving up false modesty. I'll deal with the arrogance after I've got the FM whipped.)
These days I have two patterns for chili. One is very loosely based on the Stern's recipe for Cincinnati-style chili and is intended for use on hot dogs and such. Just gave my dad three pounds of it for his birthday and my guitar buddy half of what I had left. They both glowed, I'm here to tell you... Thank you, Sterns!
The other is a little something I call Chili con Carnage. It's a technique, not a recipe, and is dependent on a number of things that might not be readily accessible to everyone, but for the sake of curiosity and inspiration, here's how I do it. (As a side note, I once had a friend diagnosed with anemia. I gave her a substantial supply of the chili and she ate it every day for a couple of weeks. The next time she saw the doc he was amazed by her complete recovery. She credits the chili...)
The first ingredient is strong meat stock, the kind that turns into hard rubber at fridge temperatures. I'm in the habit of simmering meat in stock, freezing the stock, and then cooking the next chuck roast/pork shoulder/etc. in the same stock. I do this for as long as a year. Just meat, salt, and water -- if you use any seasonings the flavors accumulate in an unsavory fashion. (This probably is closer to a symptom than a technique...)
So I start off the chili by popping a bunch of meat into the crock pot and covering it with the stock. What I use depends on what looks good in the butcher counter, but I like to use chuck roast and then fill in the gaps with stuff like shank and oxtail. When I'm feeling dangerous I throw in a ham hock. (If the people who made oxtail and flank expensive ever find out how good chuck actually is I may have to switch over to an Anthro-vegetarian diet for economy's sake.) I let it simmer on low overnight -- at the lowest setting the meat cooks fork-tender, the fat and connective tissue melt, and the meat still stays pink through.
The next day I let the crock pot full of dead animal parts cool, then pop it into the refrigerator overnight to give the fat a chance to rise and solidify for easy removal.
The next day I go out hunting for chilies. I get a mix of everything that wants to go in the pot, if you know what I mean. I use a mix of fresh and dried chilies. I get a lot more fresh chilies than you'd think, including a few pounds of red, orange, and/or yellow bell peppers.
Back at the kitchen I degrease the meat and put the meat itself into a separate pot, removing any bones and visible chunks of fat and then shredding the meat with my hands. No chopping, no cutting. It's the long disintegrated fibers that will dominate the finished dish.
Then I start processing the chilies.
The fresh chilies go into my wife's Champion juicer. You don't wanna hold your face too close to the works when you put the habeneros and scotch bonnets through there... I run the pulp through twice to get as much of the juice as possible. Dump it in with the meat. There should be a lot of it, enough to make the meat soupy. Put it in the fridge.
I do this at the same time that I'm dealing with the dried chilies. Since the dried chilies will have to cool, try and time it so that you're done with them as soon as possible, but the process includes some waiting time and while you're in the kitchen you may as well cook.
The dried chilies I look at and decide which ones are gonna be used straight and which are going to be roasted. It's about a fifty/fifty mix, tie goes to the roasted. The ones to be roasted go into a 350 oven until they get fragrant and display a few dark spots. This provides a hint of nearly-burnt flavor that is another crucial element in this death-laden hellbrew. After roasting, they go into a pot with the stock in which the meat was cooked and simmered until they're soft and rehydrated. Let them cool until they can be handled comfortably.
At that point I pull out the food mill my sister gave me with the specific intent of getting more chili out of me, put in the finest screen and run the dried chilies through it, putting the pulp into a bowl. Keep the skins and seeds out of the pulp; if you slop some in, run it through the food mill again.
Then add the pulp/stock mix to the pot with the meat and chili juices. Put it on the stove and start it simmering. Grind as much black pepper as you think it's gonna take into the pot.
Then start chopping garlic. Don't be shy -- I think in terms of multiple heads. They mellow when cooked, you know, and I stink anyway.
Then simmer and stir the chili until it boils down to a thick paste. Taste while you're doing this and adjust your levels of salt, pepper, and garlic.
At this point start adding baker's chocolate or cocoa powder. I can't for the life of me figure out why, but the bitterness of the chocolate restrains the bitterness of the chilies and gives the whole dish a smoothness and coherency it would otherwise lack.
And there you are. I've been tempted for years to add the other traditional seasonings -- cumin, onions, tomato, Mexican oregano -- but the stuff doesn't want to be messed with.(I'm a firm believer that food, like any other work of art, has its own set of intentions and the trick is listening to what the work has to say.)
I prefer to make it in large quantities and freeze most of it.
I serve it with rice and beans or a three-bean salad as my first choice. I'll use it as burrito filling. I'll spread some on a slice of bread and top it with cheese and pop it in the broiler. I'll serve it party-style with onions, sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, chopped tomatoes, avocado, etc,etc. I'll throw leftovers into beans, add homemade barbecue sauce and adjust the seasonings for ranch-type beans.
This isn't a daily occurrence, something more like a once-or-twice a year ritual.
And I'll tell you what. If it really bothers you to hear me describe it as chili, give me a functional noun and I'll use it. Or not. I have to confess that the minute I saw the slogan, "Don't mess with Texas," I immediately started trying to figure out how to mess with an entire state. If this will do the job I might not be able to resist...
(And it has to be said that Texas ain't the first state I'd choose to mess with. Too many good people there, too much good food I'd like to eat someday. California I'd love to mess with because I'm from here and I know why it deserves a little pain. Delaware also ranks high on the list... for political/economic reasons. On the other hand, they didn't put a flat-out demand for impertinence on a friggen' license-plate frame, now did they?)
FOR GOD'S SAKE, JUST TELL US WHAT TIME IT IS, NOT HOW TO BUILD A WATCH!!!!
I fell asleep half way through this Epistle!!
IMHO...I agree...too long winded....[|)]