Hello from Friday afternoon. Dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow is chili. Calah refers to it as my famous chili, but since I don’t think I’ve written a blog post about it before, how famous could it possibly be?
Over the years I’ve changed how I make chili. I’ve added some ingredients and swapped almost all fresh for canned. I do have dried kidney beans in the pantry, but I still haven’t broken away from canned. I think that is mainly caused by a fear of breaking my teeth on rocks in dried beans. I’ve heard warnings from my mom whenever she’d soak beans for cholent. I have to learn to make cholent.
I used to cut up all the ingredients and throw them in at the same time and let them sit. Cooking time was about two hours. Now I stagger when I add things to the pot and cook it for longer.
Oh! On the topic of cutting up ingredients! I sharpened a knife with my whetstone. I do that from time to time. I use my knife steel to keep the edge straight, but sometimes knives need sharpening. Using a whetstone freehand is a real bother, but check out the results:
I cut up the celery–an ingredient that I hadn’t originally included–so I can add it to the pot first. Stubborn celery can add a bitter crunch to an otherwise pleasant chili. For those who like that, add it later, I guess.
Adding it to a big pot with a little bit of oil.
I heat the pot at a little below medium heat on the stove to start the celery. I stir every about every 10 minutes. I turn the heat down to 3 about half an hour in.
The second-most stubborn ingredient I use is bell pepper. I use green bell peppers. Green bell peppers aren’t as sweet as the other colors of bell peppers. While the other colors make for prettier chili, green bell peppers ultimately do not make it monochromatic.
Two bowls of green bell peppers is a good quantity, too.
The addition of the bell peppers about an hour after the celery I think is about right.
Dicing onions is a problem for many. The crying, the slowness. None of that is for me. I like the Gordon Ramsay approach better.
But I cut into the onion sideways first. I find it’s easier to do that part before the head-on vertical slices. I use a whole onion.
Then comes the tomato. I used to use canned tomatoes. Those are fine. Fresh is better. I dice those up. Two bowls works.
About an hour of the celery and bell peppers being in there together, they’re much softer.
And it’s time to add onions.
And then the tomatoes.
Stirring shows how the colorful bell peppers weren’t needed.
I used to use garlic powder for this dish. Garlic powder is easy. But it’s not fresh garlic.
And while I used to use exclusively random chile powder, I’ve started to use jalapeños, too.
What’s nice about the jalapeños is that they look just like the green bell peppers, so who knows what’s on that spoon?
Chile powder varies in heat. I use about 3/4 tsp in my chili.
After these go for a bit, I add the canned kidney beans.
This goes awhile, too.
The last thing I add is the meat.
I use two pounds of ground beef. I used to just kinda throw it in and let it cook with the rest, but I’ve long stopped doing that.
My college roommate Darren gave me an Instant Pot for a birthday a while ago. The Instant Pot instructions for chili said first to cook the meat on a crazy-hot setting of the Instant Pot. The meat initially cooked that way and the saved juices make for a better chili, per those instructions.
I now do that but for a regular chili pot.
When browned, it’s ready to add.
I then let the chili go till it’s ready to eat. I like it with basmati rice.