Monday, January 7, 2008

A Big Pot O' Chili

We've had frigid temperatures in San Diego lately (darn near 55 degrees F.), and some pretty good wind and heavy rains were predicted too, so I decided to make a big pot of chili to get us through this last weekend.

These are all the fixins needed to make a big pot of Beef and Bean Chili. I was a little worried about the heat in this chili as we generally do not care for real spicy food: 1/4 cup chili powder, 4 jalapenos (I used two large ones), and 2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Not to worry... read on.

One of the greatest food inventions known to have been invented: Tomato Paste in a TUBE! You know the scenario... you only need a Tablespoon or two and you have to open a full can. What do you do with the rest? If you keep it in the fridge, it will start to grow mold. You could put it in the freezer, but then you have a big frozen chunk of tomato paste! With the tube, you just squeeze out what you need and then store the tube in the refrigerator... genius! It's sometimes difficult to find but if you have a well-stocked grocery store, they just might carry it.

If you've never chopped jalapenos, there are some things to consider... like plastic gloves. Your skin absorbs the sweltering hot, spicy juice in the peppers and can be dangerous to you. Even if you wash your hands well after chopping, your skin will still have the spice on it. Be very careful not to get your hands near your eyes (or your children's) or you'll be rushing to the sink to splash water on your eyes. Remove the seeds in the peppers for your recipe. The seeds add a good deal more heat than you will likely want.

This is a no-brainer chili to make. The veggies get chopped and then are sauteed together. Brown the beef, dump in the rest; boil and then simmer for an hour. The original recipe calls for 6 cups of chicken broth, which I felt made the chili a bit soupy (as the picture shows), so I modified it to include 4 cups.

The finished product... a good, chunky, hearty Beef and Bean Chili recipe. Perfect for a "chilly" day (pun intended). Oh yeah, and the spice... just enough to add a slight spicy after-taste, but definitely not a packed-with-heat chili, so add more spice to it if you like it HOT. To garnish, sprinkle some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

The original recipe comes from the cookbook by Sara Foster: Fresh Every Day.

You can find the modified recipe HERE.

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