Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chili con Carne

I'm trying to make a conscious effort to not overbuy groceries and see how long I can make things last.  I don't know if it's a new year resolution, but it's going well and I've surprised myself with what I can create from simple pantry and freezer items.  I realized that I have so much stuff in both the pantry and freezer, it's a waste to go out and buy more groceries when with a little creativity, and maybe a quick run to the corner store, I can make a really delicious dinner fairly quickly.


Here we come to Chili, I always have most of the stuff to make this and it always is delicious.  Serve it with Corn Bread and a Kale Salad and you have a lovely, healthy meal.  I used the leanest ground beef I can find, and only 2 slices of bacon which gives the Chili a smokey flavor without a ton of fat.  Using a lot of spice is the key to make a delicious and flavorful chili.

Chili con Carne:
2 slices of bacon, sliced into thin strips
1lb of extra lean ground beef
EVOO or some neutral oil
salt and pepper (at least a Tbsp. of each)
2 tbsp chili powder - I used both regular and ancho
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano and/or marjoram
1 large onion, diced
1 bell peppers, diced (I used yellow, choose a pretty color and go for it)
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1-2 tbsp flour
1/2 -1 beer, I used a lager
1/2 small can of tomato paste
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce/puree
2-3 pinches of brown sugar
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 can of Pinto or Kidney Beans (I used Pinto)
1 bay leaf
red chili flakes for heat if you want

Garnish:
Avocado
shredded cheese
green onion
diced red onion

In a Dutch oven (I used my new Le Creuset, that what a Christmas present from the lovely Miss J) one medium heat, add the sliced up bacon.  Let the fat render out and remove with a slotted spoon, keeping the bacon fat in the pan.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel.

Add the ground beef, break up with a wooden spoon and let brown in the bacon fat.  Add the spices and stir to combine.  Then add the onion, peppers, garlic and jalapeno.  Let the vegetables cook/sweat with the beef for 5 minutes.

Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Then add some beer, sip the beer, then add the rest.  Stir and let the beer cook off for 4 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, sauce, brown sugar, and broth.  Mix it up and taste for seasoning.  If you want more heat, add the red chili flakes, but it will probably need more salt and pepper.

Add the beans and cook for 30 minutes on medium low, longer if you want, but 30 minutes is enough time for the flavors to meld together and you to make your Corn Bread Muffins and some type of salad.

Serve in a bowl garnished with anything you want, slurp and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Christine CzarneckiJanuary 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    This is a lovely variation of your grandmother's Chili Con Carne. I think it is worth a note about the brand of chili powder we have all used for generations: Gebhardt's.

    Gebhardt Chili Powder has been the one of choice for Texans since the early 20th Century, and as that is where your Grandmommy's parents came from, I think it is a good bet that this is how we never make chili without it. It may seem odd that a chili powder from Texas would have German name, but the Germans started coming to South Texas in the early 1800's, and that is exactly where your family is from.

    Gebhardt's is great because it is very flavorful without being hot, a perfect thing if your father can't tolerate spicy hot foods and happens to come from Poland....

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