A Quick Stop to Meddle with Chili.

Since I spent a lot of spring and summer writing blog posts instead of school papers, this semester has had a bit of a rough start.  There’s still a lot to do before I can relax, but I felt a need to at least post a little something. Autumn is about to get serious (even took some time this weekend to pick a bit of mushrooms) and one starts to long for big pots of food that has simmered for hours on end and keeps you warm all week. Also the time for economically minded university students like me to start putting boxed lunches in the freezer. I hit the store and started forming a plan when there was good discounts on both bell peppers and minced beef.

I’d like to apologize to an chili purists out there in advance, as this post might be offensive to you, just like what I did to the other national dish of the United States a while back was potentially offensive. Before cooking the dish for this post I had never laid eyes upon a recipe for chili con carne, nor did I until I had started eating, after which I learned that there are lots of interesting dichotomies and conflicts regarding what constitutes proper chili. But we’ll sort that out along the way.

Sweating onions, garlic and bell peppers. Apparently, onions aren’t really allowed (but onion powder is fine) and peppers should at least be red, but preferably hotter than bell.

Browning ground beef. Choosing ground meat over cut seems to be a big faux pas among chili aficionados, according to the internet.

Adding bacon (which is technically diced pork, should be safe) and seasonings, including chili powders (ancho and nameless) cumin, powdered onion, cocoa, dried basil, chili paste (which is probably unheard of and not right at all) and tomato paste. Tomato is another matter of debate within the modern chili paradigm. My excuse for using paste is that my fiancée is allergic to tomatoes in most forms, but can endure cooked paste without discomfort.

A few minutes later, the minced beef has joined the party along with beef stock, beans and sweet corn. In Sweden, chili con carne is strongly associated with beans, especially kidney beans, but I’m given to understand that Texan law enforcers may fire at will upon those about to put beans in chili. I don’t know if anyone but me puts corn in chili con carne, but I’ve always done that for no other reasons than that it’s an American vegetable and it tastes good.

Here it’s been simmering for a hour and a half, which is a bit on the short side, but considering that I’m using ground and not diced meat I saw no reason to keep from eating it any longer.

And the potentially abominable, chili-esque gringo food is done and plated. I added a bit of rice to secure more lunchboxes and crème frâiche and corn chips for awesomeness.

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5 Responses to “A Quick Stop to Meddle with Chili.”

  1. Adding cocoa’s a new one on me. Cumin and chili powder are the things that really matter, though it seems barely worth eating without onion! I make chili without meat, just beans, all the time, or what’s probably worse, fake ground beef.

    • I decided to try cocoa after seeing it done on several editions of masterchef. It’s probably extrapolated from other combinations of red chili pepper and chocolate. I agree with you regarding onions, but apparently Texas doesn’t, although, with all that onion powder in the seasoning mixes, they’re cheating.

      In the purist sense, chili with beans but without meat is ‘chili beans’ :) I think veg chili is an excellent use for fake meat, since it will mostly add texture and the flavor will still be mainly chili :)

      • That’s true about chili beans, now you mention it, but like yours, my chili has lots of vegetables to make it interesting. So it’s a corruption in either case.
        I spent early years in Cincinnati which is famous for its chili.
        The one time I tried it, I was horrified to find it was pretty much a bowl of highly-seasoned greasy ground beef.
        And a little investigation tells me chocolate or cocoa was in there as well.

  2. Hey thanks for following! Love the name of your blog by the way haha.. keep up with the writing and cooking, see you ’round!

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