I'm sitting in my kitchen on a Thursday afternoon. There is a smell in the air. It's a meaty spicy, lovely aroma. Chili.
Will (my son - age 7) is going to a Christmas Party at his karate studio on Saturday. It's not a Holiday Party. You see I live in the suburbs where diversity consists of what Christian sect you belong to. Yes I am an Atheist, but ask most local folk and they would consider Atheism more of a misdemeanor rather than a legitimate way of looking at the world. Regardless, it's a potluck kinda of party and I signed up to make my chili. I say this with all humility and as a plain statement of fact: My chili doesn't suck.
Chili, you may say, is a fairly simple food so I shouldn't feel so proud. I say nay to the nay-sayers. Many people can golf, but few do it well. All (almost all) have fornicated at one time or another, but there are those who do it better then all the rest. It isn't just the voices in my head saying these things I have been told by many the chili is good.
Chili not just a food. It is a doorway to acceptance among men. Men, by and large, love chili. I can't talk football so I am out of any conversation about "the game" I refrain from talking about my job (I work with men who have brain injuries) because it really is buzz-kill at a party. But making a great chili elevates my otherwise feeble, flaccid status amongst men to being a god, a god of chili.
Here is the recipe I am using for this batch.
2 lbs of hamburger
1lb of sweet sausage
1 pound of bison
1 can (28 oz) of crushed tomato
1 can (15.5 oz) of dark kidney beans
1 can (15.5 oz) of small red beans
1 can (15.5 oz) of pink beans
4 dried chiles (from 1 package of dried chili peppers that you can find these in the produce section of your supermarket)
a bit of olive oil to cook the onions and peppers in.
4 garlic cloves
chipoltle chile pepper
3 tbspns of brown sugar
In general the perfect ratio of meat is 2-1-1.
Two pounds of hamburger to one pound of sweet sausage to one pound of bison.
1. Rehydrate the chili's in hot water. The directions should be on the container. I usually let them sit for half an hour. Afterwards, I drain, slice them open and take the seeds out. I then dice.
2. Dice up the onions.
3. Saute the peppers and onions with the olive oil in a pot.
4. Add the hamburger and bison to the pot.
5. Take the sausage out of their jackets (casings). Break them up into small bite-size pieces and add them to the pot.
6. This is a good time to add the spices. Now, I don't measure what I use. I can tell you I gave a liberal dose of chipotle chili pepper to the mix and I used a shake or two of the cumin. The garlic is on the money. I used my garlic press and shot the cloves right in. I gave a good shake with the paprika and I was careful with the cayenne pepper. Put in the brown sugar. Always remember you can always add later, but you can't take away.
7. Let the meat absorb the goodness and cook up the proto-chili for a while (maybe 45 mins on med-low). Once the meat is completely cooked it's OK to take a sample. At this point you will know if you are on the right path.
8. Open up the can of crushed tomatoes and add.
9. Open up the cans of beans, drain and add.
10. Slow cook on low for a reasonable length of time. This batch has been on the burner for 2 hours.
The final product should be spicy, sweet and meatilicous!
Be aware that milk counteracts the chemical Capsaicin that makes chiles hot.