Saturday, January 15, 2005

Making chile chili
(This post describing tonight's supper, is affectionately dedicated to Maisy, who thinks Abstract Sequentials are all about following rules.)

Brown two or three pounds of ground beef in a heavy skillet, with a little olive oil if the beef is extra lean. Chop up two large onions and add them to the skillet. Meanwhile into a large stockpot, dump four extra large cans of tomatoes, chopped up. Be sure to rinse out each can with a little water so you can put all the juice into the chili.

Continue stirring beef and onions, and begin adding spices to the stockpot. Start off with about half a cup of chili powder, a couple tablespoons of comino, and several shakes of black pepper, plus several cloves of freshly crushed garlic if you have them, or a couple of tablespoons of garlic powder if you don't.

Open a can of Guinness beer that's left over from the six-pack DH bought you two years ago to help your milk come in. Sniff it gingerly, take a sip, and remember why there's still so much beer left from that six-pack. Pour half of the can into the chili and the other half into a tall glass.

Add fully browned beef and onions to the stockpot, stirring well. Add four regular size cans of black beans, or whatever your favorite chili beans are. Kidneys and pintos work really well, but black beans are my favorite. Taste the chili and add salt till it's right. Cover and let simmer for half an hour or so, then taste again and add more chili powder and beer.

Take another sip of the beer in the glass, and remind yourself that lots of things are acquired tastes, and this is most certainly one of them. Offer the glass to hubby, and when he takes a drink or two and agrees that, yes, beer is definitely an acquired taste, tell him just to pour the rest of it into the chili if he doesn't want to drink it.

After he pours it in, stir it up, cover and let simmer again for awhile to allow the flavors to mingle properly, then half an hour or so later, taste the chili once more. If it's just not strong enough, try adding some more garlic to it. If the flavor is a bit sharp and needs to be better rounded out, add more comino. If you want more of a kick you can add either some black pepper or some cayenne, or you could chop up some jalapenos and put them in.

Now, turn your oven on to 375, put a stick of butter into an 8" iron skillet, and stick it in the oven. Put two cups of Aunt Jemima corn meal mix into a mixing bowl. Pour two cups of buttermilk into a 4-cup measuring cup, and add two eggs. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together and pour into the mixing bowl, and whisk well. Let the cornbread mixture stand while the butter in the skillet is melting, as this will make the cornbread rise better.

Taste the chili again to be sure it's coming along fine.

When the butter is melted and sizzling hot, take the skillet out of the oven and pour the cornbread mix into it, and put it straight back into the oven. When the conrnbread is golden brown on top, the chili will be done and you can ring the dinner bell.

That's good eatin, I gair-ohn-TEE-it!

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