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TasunkaWitko's House Chili Recipes

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    Posted: 22 November 2010 at 13:26
my mother is from south-central and south-western colorado, a state with a good chili tradition. having said that, nearly every ingredient in her chili always came out of a can (tomatoes, beans etc.) and it was made from ground beef. good chili, but not probably not the real experience.

to me, chili is a celebration of four flavours: beef, onions, and tomato - held together by the common denominator of the chile, which provides the base and, of course, heat, to the degree that you desire. great chili doesn't have to be hot, but it should definitely be a warm, satisfying experience that will leave no doubt as to the region of origin.

i have two methods that i use for chili. one is closer to authentic, i think, and one is purely for "comfort food" or weeknight/schoolnight/worknight food.


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a) for the first:

my favourite beef for chili is chuck roast, cut into cubes. if you are not familiar with this cut, any cubes cut from the neck, shoulder and upper front quarter will be fine. you want tough, hard-working, wonderfully-flavourful cuts that are going to turn perfectly tender with slow cooking.

the chiles should be dried, smoked if you can get them. they can be hot or mild as you prefer, but i recomend going on the mild side, as you can add crushed red pepper flakes to the final dish, if you prefer. reconsititute them in enough hot water to cover them, then pulverise them into a paste (instructions below). diced onions and tomatoes should be prevalent almost to the point of dominating the dish, but not quite. for liquids, you want tomato sauce and beef broth or stock.

here's a good recipe that i used as a base, then improvised for "chile colorado;" i'll post the recipe, then add my modifications:

Quote Chile Colorado

8 dried red chiles (such as Guajillo, California or New Mexico) rehydrated and ground into a paste (see below)
3-pound beef roast
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lard or oil for frying

Rehydrating Dried Chiles:

Pick dried chiles that have no tears or broken pieces. Use whole chiles that look fresh. Rinse off any excess dust or grime under cool water. Pat dry then cut the top off of each chile and then slit it down the middle. Shake out the seeds, using your fingers or a spoon to dislodge any seeds that want to stick. Peel off any excess dried veins that are lighter in color and run in a line down the inside.

Heat a comal (or griddle) over medium/high heat and roast the dried chiles for 2-3 minutes. Turn them often to avoid burning them. Then you're going to cover the chiles in hot water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Remove the chiles from the water and place the chiles in a blender with about 1/4 cup of water or the soaking liquid (if it is not too bitter) and puree until smooth. You can also add the garlic and oregano to the chiles while blending them. The finished puree is what you will add to the Chile Colorado.

Preparation:

Simmer the beef in a large pot for 2-3 hours or until it is fork tender. This can also be done in a crock pot during the day. Remove the beef from the water, and drain the water out of the pot. Add the lard or oil into the pot over medium/high heat. Cut or pull the beef into bite sized pieces and fry them in the oil briefly. (This step can be skipped for a lower fat version.) Add the beef broth, tomato sauce, seasoning and chile paste to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with steaming hot flour tortillas and a side of chopped white onion and chopped cilantro leaves.


i added to the recipe above a large diced onion, which i carmelised first in a dutch oven (with the minced garlic near the end); then i set the onions aside and seared the cubes of beef, similar to making carbonade flamande. i then prepared the peppers as described above, brought the onions, beef and chile puree together with the tomato sauce and also a can of crushed tomatoes. added the spices (including a scant tablespoon each of cumin and paprika) and broth (stock would be better, of course). into the oven at 275-300 for two hours or so, and it was really good.

the simple flavors made an almost-perfect combination. i omitted the salt, since the tomatoes and beef broth seemed to have plenty. the chiles provided the right amount of spice without being overpowering or oppressive - overall, i was impressed.

if this dish needs any thickening, masa harina or crushed tortilla chips would be best, if available - having said that, it can probably be thickened through simple reduction. beans can be added if you like, or can be served on the side in their own right. tortillas are a good way to scoop everything up.


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b) the second is really just a variation on the chili my mother made when i was young. this recipe might be frowned upon by the hardcore chili-ologists, but it works and feeds two adults and four children with some leftovers for the next day. it is not meant to be a historic, authentic, definitive or "gourmet" recipe, just some very good work-night food. due to what is in the pantry or to the mood at the time, we do not use all listed herbs and spices all the time, but it seems, to me, to be much more interesting when we do. for a smaller number of people, cut recipe in half:

Quote My Mother's Chili

2 large + 1 small cans of diced tomatoes
2 large + 1 small cans of chili beans
2-3 pounds of ground meat or meat cubes (hamburger, deer, elk, chorizo, anything. i tried 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 hamburger once and it was great!)
2 small cans of tomato sauce
2 small cans of tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
*optional - a dash or two of liquid smoke

also, combine all these spices in a container and set aside:

3 Tbsp. chili powder (or to taste)
1 Tbsp paprika (smoked, if you have it) (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. dry oregano (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. cumin (or to taste)
2 tsp. coriander (or to taste)
2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
4 beef bullion cubes, crushed (or equivalent amount in granules)

brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic on high until the "juice" is gone and you've got nothing but meat and fat left. some people like to drain the fat, some like to leave it in; i prefer to drain it. if you use meat cubes rather than burger, brown them in 2 Tbsp. of hot oil. remove from the heat, add the spices and stir well, then add tomatoes and beans, return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until juices reduce down. add tomato sauce, tomato paste and liquid smoke (optional). bring to boiling, stirring often, then reduce heat down to low and simmer until you can't wait any longer.


this recipe relies on store-bought chili beans, which might be a no-no to the die-hards, but is essential to working parents with 4 kids. keep in mind that these store-bought beans usually already have a bit of seasoning and chili powder, so the amounts i suggest reflect that fact. this recipe also does not have jalapenos, green peppers, cayenne peppers or habaneros, although you may certainly add them if you want to.

i really like cumin, but the beautiful mrs. tas doesn't, so i often leave it out. i did add a bit of liquid smoke once whistle (OBVIOUSLY, smoked chunks or shreds of brisket or chuck roast would be better), and got a great outdoors flavor that i really liked and my wife really hated. give it a try at your discretion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 November 2010 at 02:52
I'm quite versatile when it comes to chili...I like it with kidney beans, but I also love Cincinnatti chili over pasta without the beans. It's all good, and this recipe looks to be quite tasty.
Nice job Ron!

Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 December 2010 at 19:25
Looks good, Ron.  Mrs. Andy was just saying tonight that it's time to stir up a big pot of Georgia Red (that's what we call ours).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 December 2010 at 08:28
the recipe does work well, even with all of the canned components. we made this again the other night using the same recipe and venison, but it got a chance to simmer longer and was much richer and tastier!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 December 2010 at 11:03
Your recipe is real close to the one I use.  Venison sure does make good chili.  Unfortunately, I lost my deer lease this year and, consequently, haven't been out hunting so no venison for us this year. Cry  I have also made it out of bear meat and bear meat along with deer which is also very good.  The wonderful thing about chili is there is no right or wrong way to make it, there are as many chili recipes as there are chili cooks!

A good place to buy your chili powders and spices is Mild Bills in Texas http://www.mildbills.com .  I have been buying from him for years and highly recommend him.   His prices are reasonable and he gives good customer service, buying your powders in bulk from him and keeping them in the freezer is a lot more economical than buying the little cans of even the store brand powders which are much inferior to what he offers.  Also will mention that his bulk bags of what he calls San Antonio Original powder is actually Genuine Gebhardt's Chili powder, they just made him stop labeling it as such a couple of years ago as they only want to sell it as Gebhardt's in the more expensive little jars and big 5 pound pails.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 10:24
What I see here is that you are making it wrong.  There is only one proper way to make Chili, and that is the way I make it. This is the standard mantra from anyone who makes chili; I'm right & you're wrongTongue

Seriously though... That looks real tastyThumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 16:23
I avoid that argument by pointing out that I make the second best chili in the world. Nobody wants to fight for that position. Evil Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 November 2017 at 13:29
Update on this -

The Beautiful Mrs. Tas finds cumin to be much more congenial these days, so we use it more and more when we make my mother's Chili, in spite of the fact that my mother herself would very rarely, if ever, put added cumin into hers.

As for the Chile Colorado, I'd like to give it another go, sometime....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 November 2017 at 18:20
One tip about canned ingredients, Ron: Because they're always playing with the net-weight contents of canned and jarred foods, it's a good idea to translate what you are using into weight or volume measurements. Otherwise, sooner or later, you'll be making a totally different recipe.

I remember running into that with Tom Burris' seafood cocktail sauce, and it was a real chore to recreate it when none of the can/jar sizes were the same.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 08:09
You're definitely right, Brook - at the time I originally typed this out, I didn't have the sizes in front of me, so they went down as "large" and "small."

The next time we make this, I'll try to remember to clarify that; can sizes vary a bit, but the total amount is what matters, or close to it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 09:49
When we're talking chili, Ron, there's a lot of fudge-factor room. But some recipes (like the cocktail sauce) can really suffer from radical sizes.

Just consider: A standard (#2.5) can used to have a net contents of a pound. Then they dropped it to 14 ounces. And now they're down to 12 ounces.

That's what? A 25% reduction in contents?

Horseradish, when I was a kid (back when there were wolves in Wales and snakes in Ireland), prepared horseradish came only in those vertical jars, holding, as I recall, 3 ounces. Now they come in various sizes, weighing as much as 8 ounces. Just think what "one jar" could do to a recipe.

No sense belaboring the point. I offered only as something to keep in mind.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 07:09
Reminds me of my mom's story of one of my grandma's recipe that called for "a wineglass full" of something.

Turns out Grandma's wineglasses are 1/3 the size of modern ones,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2019 at 13:35
I made a batch of chili this past weekend that turned out really great; fundamentally, it wasn't too much different from most others, but I want to set it down here, so that I can repeat it.

One of the main things about this is that - due to simple serendipity - I discovered a new "secret ingredient" that really knocked this chili out of the park; more on that, in a bit.

As always, this chili came about because it was a weekend - when I am usually free to cook something - and because it is what The Beautiful Mrs. Tas wanted for supper. We have a "quick and easy" no-bean recipe for weeknight chili that we had been using lately, but I simply wasn't satisfied with it and set out to seeing if I could improve on it in my preparation, rather than just throwing it together. I also thought of a couple of ingredients that could be added that might also help bring it up a notch, from boring to delicious. So, I dropped a couple of things, added a couple of things, and took a look at how it would be prepared; in the end, I did pretty darn well, I'd say.

About this "secret" ingredient: the original recipe includes ground cumin, but we didn't have any in the cupboard; so I started rummaging about looking for an alternative. I spied a container with Brook's "Java Rub" way in the back, which I had made some time ago in a slightly-modified version for a brisket barbecue. I remembered that it had cumin in it as well as some chili powder, so I removed the lid, smelled it, and fell in love all over again with it. I immediately deduced that it would make a great addition, especially in the absence of the required cumin, so I set my sights on using it in the chili. I'll provide the "recipe" for the rub, in a bit.

As for the chili, I won't bore you with the original recipe; rather, I'll just skip to what I came up with, along with some notes on particular ingredients:

Quote Really Good Chili a la Tas

1 pound each ground beef, ground pork and ground turkey*
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Hungarian paprika**
Chili powder, to taste***
Brook's Java Rub; the same amount as chili powder used
2 tablespoons ground cumin****
1 to 2 tablespoons dried oregano
Double-strength beef stock as needed*****
Two 14-to-15-ish oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies added
Two 14-to-15-ish oz cans diced tomatoes with sautéed onions and roasted garlic added
One 28-to-32-ish oz can tomato sauce

*I honestly think that 2 pounds (total) of any meat combination is probably enough, but 3 pounds worked fine, and made a very hearty chili. The meat can be ground, coarse-ground, in cubes, shredded, diced etc., as you prefer. In general, we use 50/50 pork and beef, but the original recipe called for the addition of turkey, which worked well.

**I forgot this when I made the chili, but it's a great addition and should be a part of the recipe.

***We usually use 2 or 3 "cap-fuls" from the container; perhaps 3 to 4 tablespoons, total).

****The original recipe also has ground cumin, (2 to 3 tablespoons, to taste); but as I said above, I didn't have any, hence the Java Rub. In my opinion, the recipe should still include at least a tablespoon or two of cumin, even if using the Java Rub.

*****I used probably 2 or 3 cups, total.


Here is the recipe for Brook's Java Rub, which I highly recommend using for this chili as well as for barbecuing smoked beef brisket:

Quote Brook's Java Rub (modified for brisket)

6 tablespoons finely ground coffee (I used Gevalia's Traditional Roast - wonderful!)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sea salt (I had kosher salt, so I used that)
2 tablespoons Turbinado "sugar in the raw," brown sugar or powdered honey
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of your favourite chili powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons black peppercorns*
2 heaping teaspoons coriander seed*
2 heaping teaspoons cumin seed*

*Toasted and ground


Here's what it looks like:



Looks good, doesn't it?

Anyway, let's make some chili!

The method of preparation is pretty standard; I used our enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, and the steps I took were with a mind toward building layers of flavour, adding depth to the final chili. Here is a run-down, by the numbers:

1. Brown the ground meats and drain excess fat.

2. Add some salt and pepper and fry the onions in the meat until they just begin to get some good colour and smell wonderful. Add the garlic and stir everything around for a minute or three, then remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the paprika, chili powder, Java rub (if using), cumin (if using) and oregano. Stir the mixture together for a minute or two - off the heat - allowing the paprika, rub and chili powder to melt into the meat and onions.

3. Add some beef stock to loosen up the mixture, then add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce. stir the chili well in order to mix everything together, then add more beef stock, if necessary.

4. Bring the chili to the very beginnings of a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer, stirring the chili every 10 minutes or so and removing the lid after 30 or 45 minutes. From this point, let it simmer as long as possible, adding beef stock if necessary to maintain the desired consistency. We prefer our chili to be pretty thick, almost with a gravy-like consistency. The longer you simmer the chili, the better, as far as I am concerned.

5. When you are ready to serve, test the chili for seasoning and correct if necessary; if you make any corrections, let the chili simmer a few minutes to work the changes in. When it is ready, serve the chili with your choice of garnishes, toppings, chips, rolls or what have you.

Some other notes:

The oregano may or may not seem out of place to some; in my own experience, I have found it to be among the most under-appreciated herbs in Tex-Mex food.

If you cannot find cans of diced tomatoes with the green chilies, onion and garlic, simply used diced tomatoes and go a little heavier on the onion and garlic in the recipe...and add a small can or two of mild diced green chilies or (even better) chipotles, if you would like.

When I first tasted the chili (right after adding the tomatoes in), it seemed as though the green chilies in the tomatoes would be far too hot for The Beautiful Mrs. Tas; however, after simmering, the heat toned way down, working its way beautifully into the rest of the chili as all of the flavours came together and got to know each other. Also, at first, the chili seemed very thin and "pale," for lack of a better word; after about an hour of simmering and stirring, however, the chili became quite rich-looking, darkening and thickening up really nicely, presumably from the paprika, the chili powder and rub, as well as the coffee in the rub.

I served this chili to the family and received immediate praise for it; it turned out very well - better than expected - and I was quite impressed and happy with it. Just some simple time and care in preparation made a lot of difference in my opinion; plus my new "secret" ingredient, which I am convinced took it up a couple of notches.

This recipe made quite a bit of chili, so we were able to have leftovers the next day, served over some smoked sausages and topped with a little cheddar cheese.

This one is worth a try, folks - I didn't know what I was going to end up with when I started, but it sure came out well; in fact, I do believe that I'll add it to my list of "House Chili Recipes."

If you try it, let me know what you think of it...and enjoy!

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ddufore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2019 at 15:53
Made this today. Used all pork, coarse ground. Made the rub and used 1/4 cup plus the same amount of chili powder along with the rest of the spices. Used my home canned tomatoes and green chilies. Did a bit of tweaking as I went along. This chili is very, very good. Saved the recipe and will definitely be making again. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2019 at 10:40
Say, Dan - glad you tried it and that you liked it! Sounds to me as if the coarse-ground pork would be great with this, and it dialed in really nicely. I wish we still had some home-canned tomatoes on the shelf, as they would be an extra bonus.

I appreciate the feedback, as well. I am pretty sure that this basic "outline" is going to become our new go-to chili.
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