Sunday, January 17, 2016

Game Time Chili

Messy Messy Fail - While switching back to the middle school building on Friday afternoon (I typically travel 2-3 times a day between schools), I left my cute Nine West riding boots at the high school and had to wear my big new Sorel winter boots while conducting orchestra at the middle school.  The middle school kids didn't say anything, though, since half of them forget their shoes at home and wear their boots throughout the day, too.  They sympathized as I tripped around the room.

Tidy Victory - Does anyone else out there have a smart TV or blu-ray that they do not take advantage of the smart capabilities?  I finally hooked up both devices to our wireless and it's pretty cool!  Our internet service is slow in these parts, but it's fun to listen to Pandora or Spotify through our TV speakers while I cook dinner in the kitchen, great sound!

I have always enjoyed having a good chili recipe in my arsenal for those cold nights when a bowl of steamy, meaty chili can just warm my bones.

I happened to find this one in some random recipe book that came in some cooking gadget box.  I honestly don't even remember what gadget it was.

However, this recipe is fantastic - full of saucy tomato flavor with a little bit of heat and a little bit of sweet.  I've adjusted and added to my taste over the years.  AND even added special secret ingredient.

Not to mention the PERFECT featured dish for any Super Bowl party (hint, hint!).

You only need a few basic things and a crockpot to marvel any football fan.

Here's what you need:

  • 4 lbs. of ground beef (or venison works, too)
  • about 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 12 oz. can of tomato paste, thinned with water
  • about 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-10 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste), minced
  • 3 tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of stewed or diced tomatoes (depending on preference)
  • 2 12 oz. cans of kidney beans (I like to use one can of dark red and one of light red), rinsed

And now for the super special secret ingredient:

  • 1 1/4 c. of merlot (or any fruity wine will do)

Here's what you do:

  • In a pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef in the olive oil until no longer pink.  Drain excess fat.

Not pink.

I like to chop while I brown the meat.

I DESPISE chopping onions.  They make me insane.

This is me with my head in the freezer trying to stop
that nasty onion  cry of shame.

Rinse the salt away!

Spices all together!

  • Place browned meat and all ingredients in your crockpot on low and simmer for 2-3 hours.  DO NOT REMOVE THE LID.
When I know my husband will be eating this, I use
diced tomatoes, but when it's just me, I prefer stewed tomatoes.

  • Enjoy while you watch reruns or even better, THE BIG GAME!  Of course a glass of nice red wine is mandatory as well ;)

It is also important to put plenty of nonsense on your chili - I prefer shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a huge dollop of sour cream and oyster crackers.

Trust me on the secret ingredient - sweet wine - even if you do not care for it.  You will not taste the sweetness but you WILL get a hint of that delicious wine flavor.  As soon as you put that first spoonful of chili in your mouth, you'll say "Ah, there it is!"

Completely kid safe of course - the alcohol in the wine will cook off and leave you with the flavor.

As I said up above, you can also make this recipe with venison - you'll never know you didn't use ground beef.

This chili recipe is not terribly spicy to start, I always shy on the mild side for those who do not appreciate the heat.  Remember that you can always add more but you cannot take it away!

I'm sorry that there are no pictures of the final product - I'll admit we ate it so fast that I forgot to capture the moment!  Oh well :)

What nonsense do you like to add on top of your chili?