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Chili con carne, a first attempt from a European

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Boilermaker View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 12:05
Sounds like reason enough to stir up a pot of red to me.Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 13:07
Originally posted by ChrisBelgium ChrisBelgium wrote:

Well I'll be..., if you guys had asked me a week ago what chili con carne was, I would have said a steaming hot bean stew with meat added (con carne). That's how distorted my view on CCC was. No beans, I thought they were the key ingredient! I have read some recipes in the past, with just the one eye opened, but as I remember, all of them had kidney beans in them. This thread is very instructive for us europeans!

I like a little theoretic approach. So far I collected this wisdom here;

- the main players in the dish; beef, onion, tomato and chili.

- heat source; re-animated dried/smoked chilis, cayenne, canned chili, hot chili powder

- beans; optional?

- meat; beef, preferable "stew" cuts. Ground meat or cubed. I heard mentioned bison too.

One misunderstanding solved -concerning the heat- made me happy;... make it as hot as you like. I'm not into burning hot dishes at all, it paralyses the tastebuds and always ends up in a stupid competition how much fire one can support. However, the chilis used seem to be very important. We have plenty of chili powders available, including cayenne which seems to be mentioned a lot here. There's also the smoked paprika powders. I'll have to check in etnic stores if they carry dried chilis, I would be surprised if they didn't, but these stores mostly aim at an african clientele and in second position the asians. I know they have several kinds of canned chilis available of brands totally unknown, I'll have to check for Gebhardt's or Mexene. I'm excluding all asian red and green chili paste, they contain lots of other stuff that may be unwanted in this dish. Harissa paste might be a good alternative, it mainly contains chili and garlic. Maybe a combo of harissa and pimentón (smoked paprika powder) would be a good alternative if poblanos are not available? We do have those cute chinese lantern style fresh "madame Jeannette" peppers occasionally... wooohaaaa, those are a big NO for me, they get my brain boiling!!!



There are endless varieties of chili and I suspect that folks here could fill up a thread with a fantastic collection of unique chili recipes and ideas.

I like to make fairly spicy chili so I suggest that people eat it over corn chips (or my fresh corn bread) and with sour cream to tame it a little.



My favorite store bought meat is half course ground bison and half beef.  Some butchers can "course grind meat" if you request it and it makes it more like the old cowboy term for chili: "spoon steak."   I definitely like beans in my chili.  Wild game meat like venison is always a treat but the local meat of choice is moose which adds an absolutely wonderful flavor and I highly recommend trying moose chili if you have the opportunity.  Of course any chili cooked out of the back of a cowboy chuck wagon is always better.





After chili the next most diverse and passionate American food are the endless varieties of BBQ.  Wink 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 13:10
>>>Of course any chili cooked out of the back of a cowboy chuck wagon is always better.<<<
 
agreed, 100%!Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 14:00
I think you could create an entire web site devoted solely to chile. There has to be 10,000 ways to make it.

In my mind chile doesn't have beans. But of course this thread is about chile con carne which has beans. And that's fine.

To me it starts with dried powdered chiles. Anchos, pasillas and red New Mexican sorts. Lots of them too.  Now, I don't know what kind of dried chiles might be available in Europe, but there is probably something that would work as a substitute. And I agree that paprika is not the way to go here. Then cumin and oregano(Mexican oregano if possible.) You could make it without these two spices, but I wouldn't. Then some hotter chiles just for the heat, and I don't think it matters much which kind you use. Lots of onions and very coarsely ground beef. Tomatoes? Your choice to add or not. And how many? Your choice again. Maybe just some tomato paste instead. I believe chile should be thick, like a spoon standing up in it thick. So, a thickener like corn flour would be used. Throw some cooked beans in there, check for salt and you're done.

If you use the ingredients above you would have made a more than passable chile that anyone would be happy to eat and say that without a doubt they just ate a bowl of chile. Also, I don't eat big steaming bowls of the stuff. It's more like an accompaniment to a meal of good buttered bread or soda crackers or tortilla chips.

Was the above a recipe? Naw, but if you use your skills and imagination you'll get that 10,001st recipe for chile that will be all yours.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 03:59
A most interesting thread indeed.....we all have our own ideas on what chili should be like.

I must agree with most of you though...a true chili will not contain beans of any type. 

At the firehouse the boys enjoyed some beans in it, so that's the way I made it for them....red kidneys.

 My personal favorite is a Cincinnati style chili which I thicken with a block of chocolate.
The Cincinnati style is served on spaghetti traditionally, and onions, cheese, beans are options. This is also a very nice topping for chili dogs or burgers.

My regular house chili will contain some pork sausage, but the main protein is always beef.

Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 05:31
Originally posted by Boilermaker Boilermaker wrote:

....If you are really getting interested in chili I wonder if would be possible for one of us to ship you a couple of American chili powders?  Would there be a problem with shipping foodstuffs into Belgium?
 
Nice idea, Andy, but my guess is that sending organic stuff like that would not be allowed. Dunno.
I'll check what peppers are available in our etnic stores. That Alton Brown recipe for making chili powder can be used but maybe with other peppers, depending on my discoveries.
 
Some of you mention chocolate too, that's getting in next time, hey, this is chocolate country n° 1...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Karl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 12:56
Originally posted by ChrisBelgium ChrisBelgium wrote:

Originally posted by Boilermaker Boilermaker wrote:

....If you are really getting interested in chili I wonder if would be possible for one of us to ship you a couple of American chili powders?  Would there be a problem with shipping foodstuffs into Belgium?
 
Nice idea, Andy, but my guess is that sending organic stuff like that would not be allowed. Dunno.
I'll check what peppers are available in our etnic stores. That Alton Brown recipe for making chili powder can be used but maybe with other peppers, depending on my discoveries.
 
Some of you mention chocolate too, that's getting in next time, hey, this is chocolate country n° 1...
 


If you happen to know or meet any US military stationed in the Netherlands or Germany they probably have access to good chili peppers and other ingredients at their base Commissary.   Most Americans can fully understand and support a quest for the perfect chili. 

I understand trying to make a national dish correctly that you have not gotten to actually taste: http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/brazilian-portuguese-feijoada_topic1731.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 15:42
good idea there ^^^
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 18:08
Originally posted by Karl Karl wrote:

  Most Americans can fully understand and support a quest for the perfect chili.  

I understand trying to make a national dish correctly that you have not gotten to actually taste




+1. 

If I had to name one dish Americans are both passionate about and proud of it would be chili and I agree it is probably the closest thing we have to a national dish.

I am so happy that Chris is interested in it,  "American" is not known as one of the world's great cuisines so it is really cool that someone coming from the great European culinary tradition is interested in one of our humble American creations. Clap 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 19:07
"American" is not known as one of the world's great cuisines

I've got to take exception to that claim.  "American cuisine" is not something that can be comprehensively defined with ease and clarity, but there are definitely chefs and ways of thinking about food that are recognized as distinctively American and are well regarded and highly respected.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aspen Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 17:22
It cannot be chili without cilantro!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 18:31
Sure it canTongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 18:39
Originally posted by Aspen Hill Aspen Hill wrote:

It cannot be chili without cilantro!


That's a new one to me, Ann but it sounds good.Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 18:41
I've never put it in mine. Of course, mine isn't "real chili" by anyone's definition. Even mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Aspen Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2012 at 08:38
I made chili yesterday and it was by far my best yet.
One makes the best stuff in a slow cooker/ crock pot.
 
I always use some vinegar in mine, this is also a 'key' to recipes that contain several items that are cooked together.  The acid does wonders to blend the flavors- very important.  Use ACV, balsamic or RWV.  About a cup of it in a large batch of chili.  As mentioned, cilantro is also key, too bad some folks cannot eat it.  It would be like not having basil or other aromatic herbs in your cuisine to me.  I use fresh leaves, you cannot add too many.  Cilantro is a key ingredient for salsas too.
 
Medium chilis and several cans of diced tomatoes and red kidney beans.  Fresh, coarsely cut onions and garlic.  I like big onion pieces and do not cook them down in advance.  I also added a few ounces of mesquite liquid smoke this time.  Chilies hotter than medium mask the rest of the flavors for me so that is as high as I go.
 
I do not add water to my pot.  Only what comes in the canned beans and tomaotes goes in.  Do not rinse your beans.  The onions and any other veggies adds the rest of the moisture needed.  I put a small amount of corn and canned 'shrooms in this batch.  If the pot needs some water later, after several hours of cooking I will add a very small amount.
 
So this time my pot consisted of both ground chicken and beef hamburger.  To me any meat works in chili.  I fry the meat in either coconut oil or macadamia nut oil.  Tree nut oils or animal fat are best for frying meats.  Olive oil is not suitable for these temps.  You will not get the proper flavor from the meat if you use the wrong oils.  The low smoke point ruins it.  Put that damn olive oil away and save it for cold salads and bread dips!  Many other oils marketed at you and not healthy either, ban soy anything from your life now and forever.
 
For the main chili spice I really like the McCormick stuff you can buy at the grocery.  It has the correct blend to my palate.  I do add some extra cumin, paprika and as mentioned the cilantro. 
 
Review of my ingredients:
 
Ground chicken and beef (about 2.5 pounds) - fried alone with no spices in macadamia nut oil.
Three large onions, coarse chopped, garlic, lots
Balsamic vinegar- about a cup
Mesquite liquid smoke- a few shakes
Fresh cilantro leaves- big handful
Half a cup of ground paprika and some cumin to taste
Two small cans of mushrooms
One small can of corn
Three cans of dark red kidney beans (approx 15 oz cans)
Four cans of diced tomatoes, one had medium chilies in it (approx 15 oz cans)
McCormick 'original' chili seasoning packet
 
I only precook the meat, the rest is put into the crock pot to simmer and when the meat is cooked add it and stir well.  I let my pot go for at least 6 hours on the high setting and stir occasionally.  Serve in a large bowl with some sour cream and a nice buttered bread roll.
 
Give this a try and let us know if it tastes right to you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2012 at 08:50
sounds pretty good, ann!Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2012 at 09:54
That's sounds fantastic, Ann!

Macadamia nut oil?  Sounds wonderful, is it expensive?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aspen Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2012 at 20:21
Dunno, mine was a gift, very treasured too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Muleskinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 September 2012 at 17:50
Learning chili from a frenchman.  Hmmm.  No wonder you got carrots and fennel in there.LOL   I'd get some real chili powder as was suggested.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2012 at 05:12
Just to be clar, Mule, Chris is a Belgian, not a Frenchman.
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