Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow, boredom, Chili - it's what's for dinner...

After being without internet, phone, AND FiosTV for a WEEK (thank you "Snowcopalypse" as they are calling it here in MD) FINALLY back online...YAY.  Here is a totally unrelated to food pic of my patio after the FIRST storm dumped around 30+ inches of snow.  (We got over a foot more three days later)

Luckily I had stocked up on food, and managed to get out the day before the NEXT storm hit.  I had a lot of time to think and plan (and take pictures) for this blog.  My hubby jury-rigged an antenna on our TV, and we DID manage to get the Super Bowl, 24, *AND* American Idol.  Ahh...the simple things in life!

One of my son's favorite dishes is Chili.  He loves my Chili.  That doesn't mean that you will love my Chili.  Chili is one of those dishes (like Buffalo Wings) where everyone has an opinion, a taste, an idea of what the quintessential Chili should be.  I will give you a foundation.  You let your imagination run wild.  I know it's hard, but you can DO it!  Taste, and taste often.  If it seems to be "lacking" something, try and figure out what it is.  If you are a neophyte cook, that might be difficult, but savor the flavor, and try and pin it down - does it need more heat?  Add some hot sauce, or hot pepper flakes. If the Chili is too watery for you - add some cornmeal.  Does it need more "chili" flavor?  Add more Chili powder.  Does it taste kind of flat? Add a bit more salt.  Is the taste too simple?  Throw in some oregano, cumin, whatever - smell the spice...that's what it will taste like when you throw it in the pot.  If you're too chicken to throw it in the pot, take out a spoonful, sprinkle some spice on it, and taste away - of course, you may not feel like eating dinner after this, but you need to start training your taste buds somewhere! 

Here are the ingredients you will need.  Yes...that meat package does say "Bison". (warning...slight offtopic ramble ahead)  I do buy bison meat.   Why?  For a few reasons:

  • It is leaner than beef OR chicken. (yes)

  • It has less calories and cholesterol than either beef OR chicken (yes)

  • Nutritional comparison :  bison meat contains 2.42 g. fat, 143 calories, and 82 mg. of cholesterol per 100 grams of cooked meat. By comparison, beef has 9.28 g. fat, 211 calories, and 86 g. cholesterol. Skinless chicken contains 7.41 grams of fat, 190 calories and 89 mg. of cholesterol. (Bison Central)

  • Bison are grass fed, free range, and have no drugs put in their feed.
You can't taste the difference between ground beef or bison.  I haven't tried the steaks - perhaps that's for another blog post :)  But give it a try - eat healthier without sacrificing taste, and know that your bison was happily chewing his cud the day before he was packaged up for your table. /end offtopic ramble

List of ingredients - by the way, this will serve 3-4 people, depending upon appetite.  If you're young, it serves 3.  If you're old like me, it will serve 4 - unless of course you are my husband, who still eats like a teenager :)  Printable recipe is HERE
  • 1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, whatever.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2  tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 TBS Chili powder (yes, tablespoons)
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 can Hunts fire -roasted tomatoes with either garlic or green chilis, you choose
  • 3/4 cup beef broth *
  • 1 tsp. salt (for starters)
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (for starters)
*a little note here:  You can use real beef broth, you can use hot water and dissolve powdered beef broth in it, or you can use Better than Bouillon.  I highly recommend this stuff - it's the best - natural, good tasting, and you can use as little or as much as you want.  Found in the soup aisle in your local supermarket.

1.  First, put a little EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil - yes Rachel, I don't think you've copyrighted this yet, have you?) in a large heavy frying pan, and saute the onions and garlic on medium heat, or until they are translucent.  Then add the ground meat, and cook stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink.
2.  Add everything else.  Yup, it's that easy...EVERYTHING else :)

3.  Stir it all up, and it SHOULD look sort of like this:

Now, do your preliminary tasting, and use the guidelines I gave you up above.  Me? after I took this picture I added more chili powder to make it darker.  I could have added more tomato paste too, but that would make it too tomato-ey for me.   Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Hopped in the shower you say? no problem.  This Chili can sit on the stove simmering as LONG as you need it to - 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour, 2 hours...doesn't matter...This Chili can take it.  Just make sure if you leave it bubbling merrily on the stove for a few hours that you check and make sure it's not paste - add more liquid (beef broth) to avoid a burnt pot.  Any rate, it should sort of look like this right before serving...

Notice how it got a bit thicker?  Letting it simmer for a few minutes and adding the beans undrained will help thicken up the Chili.  Again, if you like your Chili thicker, add some cornmeal or finely crushed saltines.
And...Wallah! (voila!) Chili!  Garnish with some shredded cheese, or a dollop of sour cream - your call.  Serve with corn chips (family likes it this way) or with cornbread (my preference but I'm outnumbered)  Enjoy!  If you are from TX, you can throw some cilantro or oregano in there as well, but I am not a huge fan of cilantro (sorry Tina!) the flavor is too "harsh" for me.


  1. i LOVE that i can make it into my own creation. makes me fond of chili before i even make it.

    i need to set up a day to cook! i want to make that chicken, this chili..and something else...what was it!?
    also...OMG that snow. i'm jealous. i know you probably hate it right now but to me it looks lovely.
    ps- i have a blog tracker and i can never find you! no views from md at all. do you know why!?

  2. OH. and robby LOVES bison for the same reasons you do.

  3. Hmmm I dunno why...because I have everything enabled as far as this blog goes - search engines, public, blog links, etc...weird. You can google it though, and it comes out first :)

    The snow sucked. We lost internet, phone, TV for a week. Gah. At least we had power. We were snowed in for about 2 days. Ben hasn't gone to school since Thursday the 4th, and they cancelled school for Tuesday, I think because we are getting MORE snow on Monday afternoon into Tues. morning, although I don't think much will accumulate.

    You don't need to set up a day to cook Tina...that Chili takes less than 30 minutes start to finish. :) Same with the chicken. They're very easy and quick.

  4. Someone I used to know raised buffalo (those are the same as bison, right?) and she said they are mean.

  5. Yah buffalo=bison. If I looked like them, I'd be mean too!