Monday, August 20, 2007

Eat For a Week, Episode 3: Space Chili

I apologize for the delay getting this one up. Things got a little crazy. In fact, I'm actually cooking recipe #4 while finishing up this entry.

Thanks to Mik over at Space Adventure for the inspiration for this recipe! He asked if I'd be posting a chili recipe soon. Oddly enough, I've never actually managed to come up with a chili recipe, since in the past if I wanted chili, I'd just buy a can of the preservative-packed pre-made stuff. I figured that it's about time I had my own recipe. I made this up as I went. That's right, you'll be watching the creation of a recipe here! I know I took a couple of turns that probably aren't terribly traditional, but they seemed like good ideas to me at the time. How will it turn out? Only time will tell!

For this recipe I had to buy ground beef, bacon, onions, bell peppers, carrots, garlic, and canned beans. My grocery bill was just shy of $20. If you include stuff that I bought to top the chili (cheese, sour cream and avocados) then the bill was more like $26.


4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1" pieces
2 lbs ground beef *
2 large onions, chopped **
7 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 15oz cans red kidney beans - drained (reserve liquid) ***
1 15oz can black beans - drained (reserve liquid) ***
1 15oz can pinto beans - drained (reserve liquid) ***
1 15oz can chick peas - drained (reserve liquid) ***
4 dashes allspice
3 dashes onion salt
3 dashes garlic salt
3 dashes celery salt
3 Tbsp cumin
4 Tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp ground yellow mustard
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 or 2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 C vinegar
3 Tbsp tomato paste


1 huge pot


Heat olive oil in pot over medium-high heat.
Add bacon, cook until crispy.
Remove bacon to a paper towel.
If necessary, remove excess fat from the pot until about 2 Tbsp remain.
Add onions and garlic, salt and pepper to taste (be careful of the salt - the bacon fat can be pretty salty), cook until translucent, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot.
Add beef - season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned.
Taste for seasoning - adjust if necessary.
Add allspice, onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt, cumin, cayenne, mustard and parsley.
Allow to cook for a few minutes while stirring.
Add carrots, bell peppers and tomato paste, stir to incorporate.
Add bacon back to the pot.
Add vinegar.
Add water to cover.
Add bay leaves
Add beans, and some of the reserved bean liquid if necessary to adjust level to cover ingredients.
Allow to come up to a rapid boil then reduce heat to low.
Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender.
Be sure to remove the bay leaves before eating.

Serve yourself up a big ol' bowl of this hearty chili. Top it with whatever you like. I tend to prefer things like grated cheese, sour cream, and avocado/guacamole. Other options would be diced onion, cilantro, diced peppers and, well, pretty much whatever you think would be tasty.

Want something crunchy with your chili? Try spooning it over a pile of Fritos or other corn chip of your choice. Chili *should* also freeze pretty well. I'll be sure to update here if it doesn't.


Since I was making this recipe up as I filmed this, I went ahead and provided the recipe here as performed, rather than as I intend to do it next time. I so rarely use cayenne pepper that I forgot it actually gets hotter as it cooks. And a little hotter still as the chili sits in the fridge. That first night, the heat was just right for me, but by the end of the week it was a little much. Next time I'd reduce the amount of cayenne to about 3 Tbsp - or maybe a bit less - but I think that's the only change I'd make.

Music for this episode was "green" from The Hybiscus Journals' second record, "Chakra Pop".

* If you don't do red meat, this would probably be pretty tasty with ground turkey or chicken.
** If you enjoy raw onion, feel free to keep some aside to sprinkle atop the finished chili. I don't really do the raw onion thing, so I just put them all in at the beginning.
*** I know some of you are probably thinking, "There're no beans in chili!!!" Yeah, well... I'm on a budget, here. Beans are a great cost effective way to stretch something like this. Same goes for the carrots.


Kali said...

yum! that sounds awesome! I think that I need to come over for dinner sometime. yep, that's what i need to do...yet again, you rock!

thorn said...

hey, thanks! any time i'm cooking, you're welcome to come hang and have dinner. and again, thanks!