Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Chilly!

Chilly weather means spicy pots of chili bubbling away on the stove. Chili really is a wonderful comfort food. Low in fat, high in flavor, it's one my favorites. Everybody has their own special chili recipe, an individual dish that is even better shared with friends as we all wax poetic about our best chili memory. Break open a bag of Frito's Scoops or pour it over top some rice or boiled potatoes and you've got the recipe for success.

I like to use lots of peppers, onions, kidney beans and ground beef. That's right - no tomatoes. I don't even use tomato paste.

Here are all the peppers I used for this batch:

Three red peppers diced, half a pound of jalapenos and my special ingredients; where my chili picks up a deep red color, amazing authentic flavor, and a smokey, sweet spice that is impossible to get with premixed spices: Ancho and Guajillo peppers.

Those dried chilies on the bottom left are called Guajillo's. They are the dried form of Mirasol chilies. Mirasol's are originally from Peru, but are widely used in Mexican cooking and are available at more places than you'd think. They have a fruity-hot flavor with a pleasant sharpness.

The other dried chili is an Ancho. These are probably the second most common dried chili available (after cayenne). These are the dried version of Poblano's. They smell intensely like raisins and turn brick red when soaked. They add a wonderful flavor and color to any dish they are used in.

Here are what they look like after about five minutes steeping in hot water.

See the color change? Too bad you can't smell these! (Especially as I was blending them)

I don't use "chili seasoning," rather I use the trio dried oregano, hot chili powder, and ground cumin. These are typically what chili seasoning contains, plus a little powdered garlic (fresh cloves for me baby!) I avoid this by using my own in a ratio that works best for me!

Anyway, here is the chili after all the ingredients are put together, simmered for about an hour on low; all I need now is some corn chips!

Tell me what your secret ingredient is in the comment section! Peanut butter? Chocolate? Chamomile? Lemme know!

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