Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter, I'm Feeling A Bit Chili

As the weather plummeted into freezing temperatures and the snow fell, I decided it was prime time to make chili! As you know, one of my New Year's resolutions is to make a new recipe every month. Last month I made homemade brown bread. This month, I made some delicious chili!

This recipe is from a friend of mine who's made this annually at his super bowl party. Having moved out of town this year, I didn't want to miss out on this amazing concoction, so I made it for myself (and several other people) this past weekend! I even remembered to take some pictures! Although, I forgot to take one of the final product. It disappeared too quickly!

Here's the recipe (written by my friend, not me, hence, it's funny!):

Smoke and/or Fire Modular Chili

Note: To move along the scale of spiciness, adjust the numbers in parentheses. Peppers are presented in ascending order of heat. Pro-tip: Favor the top of the scale for crisp and smokey, favor the bottom to descend through the levels of capsaicin Hell.

Makes: A lot of chili.


2 8oz cans tomato paste
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
32 oz water
8-12oz dark beer
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can red kidney beans (drained)


~2 lbs. of diced beef. Lean stew meat is fine, but if you’re feeling fancy, get a grocery store brisket cut and dice it up yourself.


1 Green Bell Pepper(s), cut into small chunks (1-2)
1 Red Bell Pepper(s), cut into small chunks (0-1)
1 Pablano, cut into small chunks (0-2)
8 Jalape├▒os, cut into small chunks (0-8)
6 Serrano peppers, cut into small chunks (0-6)
2 Habanero, minced (0-2)

Fresh Stuff:

~3 leaves Basil, shredded
Cilantro, shredded to preference
1 white or yellow onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic


1-2 tbsp smoked paprika (add more if you use less hot peppers)
1-2 tbsp oregano
1/2-1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp chili powder (pre-made or make your own if you’re feeling adventurous)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp cracked salt


It’s pretty straight forward, really. Dice up your onion and garlic. Take half of that and put it in a pan with some olive oil (just enough to cover the pan and get some on the onion/garlic). Saut├ę that for awhile, then add your beef and brown it.

While you’re doing this, put all the “foundation” and “spices” into your pot or crock pot and cut up your peppers and fresh stuff. My advice is to wear some cooking gloves when you cut up your hot peppers. You really don’t want habanero on your hands when you rub your eyes or go to the bathroom.

After everything is cut up (including the cilantro and basil), put everything but your meat into the pot and turn it on low until the meat is browned. Once the meat is ready, put everything from that pan into the pot as well. Stir and stir and stir until you’re convinced that everything is evenly distributed. It should smell pretty great, but it gets better. Turn the heat up to high until it starts to boil, then bring it back to just low enough to remain boiling. Let it sit for hours (I normally go at least 5 hours). If the water level gets too low, add in more beer, not water. Water will water it down, beer adds flavor. When you’re about ready to serve it, if it’s not as thick as you’d like, you can add in flour (1 tbsp at a time) until it’s the right thickness.

Put it in a bowl, optionally add sharp cheddar, fritos, or your choice of cracker. Don’t add in sour cream though. Well you can, but I may call you a heretic. Depending on how far down the Path of Heat you went, you may want to have some bread/milk/refreshing beer nearby. It can get really hot. 

As you can see, you'll want some decent prep time in the morning before letting the slow cooker work it's magic all day. We started by chopping up our onions and garlic:

Chop chop!
While he worked on the veggies, I took care of the meat:

No Cheez-its were harmed in the chopping of this meat.
Let me tell you about chopping this meat. We bought 3 lbs of stew meat on sale from the store. It was fairly chopped, but I like my chili bite-sized, and my bite is considerably smaller than most people's. About half way through the chopping, I severely regretted my desire to slice it all up, but by then I couldn't turn back, and I had to finish. This is when the small part of personality that tries to be Type-A is really annoying. 

After I chopped the meat and the veggies were sauteed, we threw them in the slow cooker with the spices:

If you're thinking the slow cooker looks a little small, you'd be right.
We finished cooking up all the meat while adding the tomatos et al. to the pot. We realized that the pot was going to be far too small and so we borrowed another one from a local place in town. Small town life has it's perks. 

With the meat finished, we added everything (except the hotter peppers!) together and stirred, stirred, stirred:

Nom Nom. (and, yes, many Oreos were harmed in the stirring of this chili).
I scooped out some of this and added it back to the smaller slow cooker. We kept the smaller batch mild with very little spice (because I don't have the spicy-enzyme) and then added our hot peppers to the large batch. By this point, the house was smelling wonderful.

We came back about 7 hours later and feasted!

Getting ready to chow down with all the fixin's!

February Chili: success!

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