Monday, December 21, 2009

Forecast: Chili With a Chance of Cornbread

I’ve made chili before, but certainly not enough to wing it.  Here’s the recipe I used.  It's just a little different than the original recipe.

2 pounds ground beef
2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
1 can Mexicorn with bell peppers
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Light sour cream

In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the next ten ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours. Garnish individual servings with cheese and sour cream if desired.

I love chili so I’m always going to have high hopes for it.  It’s a really easy recipe.  Next time, I’d either add more jalapeño peppers or maybe some cayenne.  It was a little spicy but I definitely needed more heat for my chili.  We also decided to make cornbread.  This was new to me.  I used the regular Jiffy mix and added a jalapeño to it. 

The verdict:  Chili was great but could have been spectacular with a little more heat.  Cornbread was easy and super tasty. 

I’d definitely make this again.  I feel like chili is something that I’d like to research a little more.  I’m thinking maybe try out different recipes until I find my favorite.  Maybe it’ll replace my quest for the world’s best nachos.  You know, now that I know where to find them.  (Lucky’s at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.)  Anyway, maybe next time I’ll get up the nerve to try a recipe with cinnamon in it.  Oh, and one more thing.  Anyone know why we brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker?  We throw all sorts of raw meats into the slow cooker.  What makes ground beef so different?  Just curious, really.  Whatever the reason, it works and it’s pretty yummy so I’m not going to go changing anything.

I’ve never used a recipe for chili so I certainly wasn’t going to start now! I typically cheat and start with a packet of Chili-O but since I was blogging this batch, I figured I’d go au naturale and just spice it up from the cabinet. So- I started by putting 93% lean ground beef in the skillet and once browned I added random amounts of: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, cayenne and salt & pepper. While that simmered, I sauteed a diced Vidalia onion and two jalapeños in olive oil. Then I combined the meat and the cooked veggies and let that hang out while I started opening cans. Into the crockpot went: two cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles and two cans of dark red kidney beans (all undrained). The same combination of spices went on top of the tomatoes and beans and stir. Next I added the meat and cooked veggies to the pot. Stir well.Two more cans of tomatoes and more spices in the pot. Stir again. Finally I add one more diced onion, a diced green bell pepper, two more jalapeños and a can of corn. Oh, and more of those spices! Stir well, simmer for at least 4 hours.

You know- this was probably one of my favorite batches of chili I’ve ever made. It was spicy, zesty, tasty, comforting, chunky, smoky, veggie-licious WITHOUT all that sodium from the spice packs! I had mine with shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, Fritos and a little dollop of (light) Daisy. OH! the cornbread! Saturday afternoon I picked up a bag of Southwestern-style jalapeño cornbread mix from the Napa Valley Pantry at Marshall’s on clearance. I would definitely recommend this to a friend. It tasted like corn cake with jalapeños in it. Really, really worth the three bucks. (P.S. Luckys! Luckys! I want nachos NOW!)

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