“How come you used to cook for Rosa but you never cook for me?”
There it was again. I’d heard it before and I knew I’d hear it again. It was Vicky’s way of saying, “Would you like to make dinner?”
So, of course, I replied, “What would you like me to make, hun?”
“Anything” meant “I have one specific thing in mind. If you guess incorrectly, I will cut off your head and devour it like a pineapple and you will forever be crushed beneath the boot of my guilt.” I had to guess correctly.
Fortunately, the conversation had resulted from my mentioning how I used to make chili… I had a clue what she wanted.
I had my own way of making chili before but I wanted to do things a little differently this time; I didn’t want Vicky thinking I was making the chili “she” used to eat, ya know?
I started by scouring the Internet(s) for really cool chili recipes and, after I found a few, put them together and sent them off to my cook-buddy, Jenn. She sent back her ideas, I tweaked them, and I was off to the store where I changed the recipe again. And yes, you’ve probably guessed what a disastrous recipe can result from combining several recipes, tweaking that, and then improvising on a few things as well. Surprisingly, it was pretty good.
Ken & Vicky’s (and Jenn’s)(and other anonymous folks on the Internet(s)) Chili…
2 lbs. ground beef (chili grind)
1 lb. Pork (cubed or ground)
12 oz. chorrizo
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsps. Oregano
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tbsp. cumin powder
3 tbsps. chili powder
1 tbsp. Salt (kosher, of course)
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 28oz can crushed/diced tomatoes
1 med onion diced
1 med bell pepper diced
1 large Poblano chili
½ pound of red beans
First things, first. Soak those beans! You can put them in a bowl of water overnight or (if you get in a rush like me) boil a pot of water, remove the pot from the stove, and soak the beans in the water for about two hours.
Then, brown the meat. This might be a slight misnomer when it comes to the chorizo. Anyone who’s ever cooked with the type of chorizo we have in southern California will tell you that, after you squeeze it out of the tube, it’s more about grease management than browning… but do your best.
Set aside the meat and wilt/caramelize your onions and bell peppers in a very large pot. (You’ll be adding everything to this pot so make sure everything can be comfortable.) After the veggies are nice and relaxed, move the meat into the pot. Then, add your garlic, poblano, two of the beers (the third is for you – you deserve it), and the whole damn can of chipotles! (You can smooosh the peppers in your hand to break them up a bit.) (And remember, this recipe was made for someone who loves spiciness so, if you don’t like it spicy, you might want to tone it down a bit.)
Add about half of the spices. Later, you can use the rest to spice to taste.
Add the beans but be sure to toss the reserve “bean water”.
Let that get going for a while – time is meaningless – until you’ve got a good boil going on. Now, add the tomatoes and put a good lid on the pot. Let that boil for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally. You shouldn’t run out of fluid but, if you do, just pour in some water. Make it whatever consistency you want.
Spice to taste.
This recipe will probably be revised as the years go on and you’ll probably find ways to amend it, too. Change up the peppers. Take away the beans if you want. It’s up to you.
I’m off the hook from cooking for a little while… but now that I’ve said that…