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Monday, October 10, 2011

Grow-Up Chili

   For some reason this last birthday sunk in a little more than I expected it to,who knows why. One thing I did feel after this last birthday,was a little bit more grown-up.

Not a whole lot grown-up,just a little.

    It's been a long year,30 was a big year for my sweet husband and I. Birthdays and the year that follows that birthday is celebrated with those around you. I think,be it friends,family or the four cats that you live with,we all share in that birthday because...well all of those people (yes cats are more like people than we know it) make us...well us.

      Back a long-long time ago a group of friends gathered at another friend's house for a chili cook-off,a birthday chili cook-off.The friends were my dad's fraternity brothers and the occasion,besides the chili,was a birthday celebration. Two of the guys in the group,Fred and Frank both had birthdays in the month of October. They decided what better way to celebrate those birthdays than with chili! So every year for a little over 10 years the same group of folks gathered together to celebrate life,friendship and the simple company of food and good friends.

     Ahh the good life.

        I think,I am mostly sure that these gatherings started before I was born. I grew up with the notion of people and food together makes a great night.Uncle Freddie and Aunt Susie had a round booth seat in their kitchen and oh gosh that was my most favorite place to sit.One of my parents would gather my dinner together for me. I would climb up up that booth and chow down on some chili. I don't remember flavors or what else was served at those celebrations. The one feeling that will stay with me forever:togetherness. One big group of people,sitting around a table enjoying a meal together. I'm sure it wasn't all calm and peaceful at those get-togethers. I don't know a family that had peace and calm and if they do...well that's just boring. Kids running around all hyped up on kool-aid and chili. Parents balancing a good time and chasing those kids around the house. I do know that a good time was had by all regardless of the mayhem and smiles were served up with every bowl of chili. Oh and saltine crackers.

          An friend of mine and fellow foodie has a fantastic blog that contains a fantastic chili recipe.I have fallen for it head over heels,really it's the first bowl of chili I have gotten excited about in a long time.I think you should invite your friends over,serve up a bowl of chili and watch the smiles appear on the faces of those you love.

Grown-Up Chili

The ingredients: ground beef,onion,bell pepper,garlic,tomato paste and salt and pepper.

     We also have some dry spices,beef broth,tomato sauce,canned beans and beer.

   Hello fall.
      I have been accused of making recipes a little bit more spicy than necessary. Oh I gave in a and removed the stems and seeds of the jalapeno. And much to my surprise,it was plenty of heat.

Grown-Up Chili
adapted from Michael Hansen
blog: Chez Hansen
Ingredients:
1 TBl vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

2 TBL chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBL cumin
1 TBL paprika
1 tsp dried caynenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper,to taste
1 TBL vegetable oil

2 jalapenos,stems removed and seed cleaned out
1 red bell pepper,stems and seeds removed-finely chopped
1 green bell pepper,stems and seeds removed-finely chopped
1/2 lg yellow onion,diced
2-3 cloves garlic,minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 12-ounce beer ( amber beer works wells,but whatever is on hand is fine too)
1-2 cup beef broth
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cans of beans,rinsed and drained ( I used one can red kidney beans and one can black beans.)
Directions:
1. In a large non-stick skillet,heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef along with the dry spices.Stir to combine and brown the meat until all of the pink is gone.Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.( If cooked any longer,the beef will become chewy by the time the chili is ready.Chewy is not good.)
2.While the meat drains,wipe out the skillet you just cooked the meat in.Next heat the vegetable oil in the same skillet add the bell peppers,onion,garlic and jalapenos to the skillet.Cook just until softened.Add the can of tomato paste to the vegetables and dissolve into the mixture.
3. Add the meat to the crock of slow-cooker,then add the vegetable mixture.Next add the rest of the ingredients into the slow-cooker: beer,beef broth,tomato sauce and beans.
4.Cook on low for 4-5 hours,or if you're really in a hurry cook on high for 1-2 hours. Michael says that the slower the chili cooks the deeper the flavors will be. I can't agree more. Enjoy!

         

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