Friday, July 17, 2009

Chili con Carne

So, I have a confession: I've made plenty of cholents but I have never made chili before. Well, at least, I hadn't until a couple of weeks ago. But when I did finally set out on the brave endeavor of making my first chili, I borrowed a few techniques from my cholent-making skills, namely: the crock pot.

I like using those crock pot liners (sometimes hard to find in some supermarkets) to make crock pot cooking a lot easier to clean up. Some people put water underneath the liner which I find does nothing and it makes it take longer for the heat to transfer into the food. Besides, these things are purposely made to withstand the kinds of temperatures crock pots can put out. Especially when you cook a cholent overnight and things have a tendency to stick to the sides or the bottom, these things really help. OK, end of product plug (no I am not paid for this. If you are a crock pot liner manufacturer and would like to pay me I will graciously accept. Let's do lunch).

Of course, you don't have to use a crock pot for this recipe - a Dutch oven will do just as well (or so I hear, since I don't happen to own one; again, if you would like to purchase one for me, I will graciously accept. Let's do lunch. Dinner if the crock pot liner guys call me first). If you don't have either, I suppose a large-ish pot will suffice on the stovetop for roughly the same time, but keep an eye on it (since the meat is already cooked by the time it goes into the pot, you're really looking to cook for the right consistency, i.e. when the liquid level is at your liking).

You'll notice this chili contains both beef and chicken. That was the result of buying beef and having additional guests added later on and needing to add some additional protein to make it a larger batch. This turned out to be an extremely good choice and I now am a big fan of polyproteinous chili (I think I just made that word up).

Anyhow, apparently the chili came out really well - I've still been getting compliments weeks afterwards. Hopefully you'll find this chili just as memorable. And if you don't, I hope you'll at least find it tasty. Cause that's all that matters in the kitchen in the end.

This is the chili only 2 hours into cooking (which is why it's liquidy still)

Chili con Carne

1 lb. chicken breasts, cubed
1 lb. ground beef
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3-4 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, mined
2 tsp chili powder
1 can corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced (or canned diced jalapenos)
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp flour + 2 tbsp water
Salt & pepper

1. Saute scallions, garlic, carrots till soft in a cast iron skillet.

2. Add chili powder, salt, pepper, chicken and beef and cook through.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer skillet contents to a crock pot (discard the leftover fat, or use for something else).

4. Add corn, beans, pepper, jalapenos, spices, bay leaves to crock pot.

5. Mix flour and water together thoroughly to form a clumpless slurry. Add the slurry and stock to the crock pot.

6. Add salt & pepper to taste and mix well. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until it reaches the desired consistency.

Serves 10-12.