No, this is not a restaurant review. Here I am going to divulge to you, my lucky readers, my amazing chili recipe! Why would I just give away this amazing recipe when I could probably sell it for a million dollars? Because I am so very tired of people throwing themselves at my feet and begging for the recipe – the townspeople just sob at my feet crying all day long for the truth behind my amazing chili. Everybody wants to know: what is the secret ingredient? Well, let me tell ya, it’s not magic. Here’s the first twist – there isn’t a secret ingredient in my chili. There are four.
Let’s begin with a look back at the origin of chili.
Chili con carne is basically a spicy stew. The name is Spanish and means peppers with meat. Chili is a diverse dish that spans many different geographical regions. But chili as we know it has it’s origin in northern Mexico. Native American legend tells the story of chili preparation being taught to Indians by a Spanish Nun in the early 1600’s. I know there is no “right way” to make chili and there is plenty of controversy over chili ingredients. I’m not trying to start any fights but I know Texas-style chili has no beans in it. Now, I love Texas and its foods. But this is Vancouver and I ain’t making no Texas-style chili. No, I’m not poor. I’m not substituting beans for meat. I just think chili should be able to have both. Now, I know you’re all complaining like spoiled 4 year olds “but Lynn! we don’t like beans!”. I hear you. Maybe you’ve just been eating too many of the wrong kinds of beans. I agree that kidney beans are the worst and they have no place in my chili.
Now don’t go getting any ideas about how you could “improve” upon my chili recipe. If you go fiddling around with it adding in pineapple and skipping the beans or whatnot you will screw everything up, so just put down that package of discount ground beef and PAY ATTENTION.
Allright – let’s get cracking, as you may know, I tend to get a little chatty – so the ingredients have been bolded and italicized for your easy reading pleasure:
First, start the garlic roasting. It’s easy. how to roast garlic See? Whenever the garlic’s done – just chuck it in the pot.
Next – cut up the beef brisket* into inch by inch cubes. Don’t worry – beef brisket isn’t as expensive as you may think. You will be able to buy enough for a large pot of chili for $8-10. Throw the brisket into a pot with a bit of heated oil – we’re lightly browning it along with a small package of ground pork **. Yes, 2 different kinds of meat – that’s the first part of my chili’s greatness. Now, don’t cook the meat too high or too long or it’ll get chewy and bad. Chop up a small onion. I like to use a yellow onion – but it don’t really matter. Get that onion in with the meat. Now – start throwing in spices. You can put in whatever you like and however much of it makes your tastebuds feel happy. I chop up a dried chilli pepper, chuck in a bit of basil, a bay leaf, some paprika, a bunch of cracked black pepper, a titchy bit of oregano, half a bucket of cumin – now cumin is “the chili spice” it goes in every North American chili; without the cumin you got nothing, and finally a generous sprinkling of chili powder. Be careful with the chili powder it packs a spicy punch – just put a little in at first then add more near the end to adjust for desired spiciness. You can put in more, less, different spices than what I do. It’ll be okay.
Now is time to dump in all our cans of everything. Okay, I am lazy. I use food from cans. It’s so much easier. But yes, use fresh stuff if you wanna. One can of each of the following should suffice – make sure to drain off all the excess liquids from each can:
whole kernel corn
whole or diced tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes smush ’em up good with a spoon against the side of the pot)
Stir it around for a while. Let it simmer a bit. Now, if you want a more even consistency or you like your chili more red and less meaty – it is a-ok to add in a small can of plain old tomato sauce.
Now is the pot brimming with goodness? Super, let’s add the last couple of ingredients. No, the pot is not going to overflow. It’ll be okay. Let’s put in that roasted garlic – you may have forgotten about. Next we need a surprisingly large dose of cocoa powder***. No, I am not crazy. Cocoa is wonderful in chili. Haven’t you ever eaten mole?! Chocolate and chili are flavors that go well together. As are chocolate and meat, so don’t be afraid. Cocoa powder is chocolatey but it is not sweet, so you CANNOT substitute with a packet carnation instant hot chocolate powder!
And finally pour in one can or bottle of beer ****. It doesn’t really matter what beer you use. A dark, flavorful beer is good. Just don’t use a weirdo strawberry beer or anything too sweet or fruity. Let the chili simmer on really really low for as long as possible. I like to give it at least an hour. That way all the flavours can mix and the meat gets really tender. Stir it up once in a while and keep tasting it – it probably needs more chili powder, cumin, and cocoa. I find I keep putting more and more of these three ingredients in as I go. I also tend to add more beer near the end.
Now, if you think the chili is way too watery (and adding the tomato paste didn’t help enough) you can attempt a final fix by adding a bit of flour. Flour will also wash out some of the spice so remember to mix the flour in thoroughly and then taste and re-spice, if needed.
The chili’s ready whenever. It usually takes me at least 2 or 3 hours from start to finish. Now get a good bread sliced up or some tortillas and don’t forget the shredded cheese. Some people still don’t seem to know that cheese + chili = BEST! I ususally use cheddar – but almost any cheese would be good. The cheese is also good to cut through the spice if you went a little overboard on the chili powder or dried chili peppers.
I hope you enjoy my super amazing best chili ever!
* – secret ingredient number 1
** – secret ingredient number 2
***- secret ingredient number 3
****- secret ingredient number 4
Get Up Kids – Simple Science.
People have been waiting years for this – just as they have been for my chili recipe.