The Secret To Making Perfect Chili Fit For A King

Every autumn my thoughts turn to making chili. The garden is about done. The freezer is full of veggies. All the canning is done, and winter is coming. Just before winter hits, the price of beef drops as cattlemen sell off any remaining stock that they don't want to "winter over". It is the perfect time to stock the freezer with homemade chili.

There is nothing better than to come home at the end of a cold winter day, chilled to the bone, and sit down to a bowl of piping hot chili and steaming black coffee. It is more than food for the body. It is truly a comfort worth remembering.

By itself, chili is absolutely delicious. As a side dish to grilled cheese sandwiches, tuna melts, or toasted BLTs, it is out of this world. But there is a fabulous meal I call "perfect chili fit for a king" that is even better. It is a masterpiece of cookery.

There are two great secrets to making "perfect chili fit for a king". One is in the making, and the other is in the serving. The first secret involves understanding the word "perfect". More people disagree on what makes good chili than any other dish. Some think that hotter is better. Others say milder. Some like it soupy. Others like it thick. And that is the secret to this recipe. When you finish making it, you will have 3-4 gallons of chili that is perfect FOR YOU...not for me. Yes, I said 3-4 gallons. When frozen in quart containers, you will have 12-16 wonderful meals that can be served in a matter of minutes. Just remove it from the container, add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water (depending on how you like it), turn on the burner, put on the coffee, and start the grilled cheese and garlic sandwiches. Your family will be eating in about 20 minutes.

To begin with, you will need at least a 16 quart pot. I use the same 20 quart pot normally used for canning just to be sure I have a pot that's big enough. And you will need the following ingredients.

5 lbs. of ground chuck

5 Family size (40 1/2 oz.) cans of dark red kidney beans (drained)

1 Institutional size can (6 lb. 9 oz.) of whole peeled tomatoes

3 large bell peppers (washed, cored, and seeded) mixed colors preferred

3 medium to large oninions (about the size of an orange...peeled and washed)

2 to 4 TBS (tablespoons) Ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp (teaspoons) to 1 TBS of crushed red pepper

1 to 2 TBS of salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup of chili powder

grated sharp cheddar cheese

sour cream

chopped chives (fresh or dried)

Open the tomatoes and carefully pour the entire contents into the cooking pot. Making sure you keep your hand submerged below the liquid line, find the whole tomatoes one by one. Poke a hole in them with your thumb, then squeeze the tomato until the pieces squish out between your fingers. WARNING. If you do not poke a hole in the tomato before you squish it, I promise you that both you and your kitchen will be wearing tomato juice. The same is true if you squish them with your hands above the liquid. Continue squishing the pieces of tomato until they are the size you prefer.

Chop all the bell peppers into dime-sized chunks and divide into two equal portions. Put one half into a bowl and the other in the pot with the tomatoes. Do the same with the onions, placing half in the pot and the other half in the same bowl as the bell peppers.

Add the drained kidney beans to the pot.

Add 2 TBS (tablespoons) of Ground black pepper.

Add 1 1/2 tsp (teaspoons) of crushed red pepper.

Add 1 TBS of salt.

Add 1/4 cup of chili powder.

Take a strong spoon and mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Put the pot on the stove, and set the burner on the LOWEST possible setting that will boil water. At this point, you may feel that the chili is too thick. If you are not sure, the best way to tell is if the chili is too hard to stir. If it is, add water to the pot until it is the consistency you prefer. Stir again. Cover the pot. (Note: if you are adding more than two glasses of water, you may want to substitute tomato juice for part of it.)

From now own, two things are very important. Always keep the chili at the consistency you want by adding water when necessary. So that when the chili is done, the consistency will be perfect for you. It is equally important to stir the pot every 5-10 minutes. When you are cooking this much chili at one time, it is possible to burn it on the bottom while the chili on the top is still cold. Stirring keeps the chili evenly heated from top to bottom.

Take a large frying pan and press enough ground chuck into the pan to cover the bottom with a layer about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Salt and pepper the meat and then top with a handful of the chopped onions and peppers from the bowl. Cover and cook with the burner set about one notch higher than the pot is set on. Your goal is to partially cook the gound chuck, onions and peppers. Check the meat about every 5 minutes until it starts to firm. When the meat firms and starts changing colors on the bottom, take a strong spatula (the kind used for flipping hamburgers) and use the edge to start cutting the meat into pie shaped pieces. Flip the pieces to the opposite side, cover, and continue cooking. When the other side starts to firm, using the edge of the spatula, cut the hamburger into the size pieces you prefer (Again, I prefer mine about the size of a dime). Keep flipping the smaller pieces until they have completely turned on the outside and are firm. Remove the pan from the burner, and transfer the meat to the pot using a slotted spoon. Allow all the grease to drain from the spoon before you put the meat in the pot. Pour off the grease in the frying pan, and repeat until you have used all the ground chuck. When you are finished, pour any remaining chopped peppers and onions into the pot. Again, each time you add meat to the pot, adjust the consistency with water if necessary.

Now, everything is in the pot, and it is the perfect consistency. Now, it's time to adjust the spices. If you haven't been doing so, you should begin tasting the chili. If you want a stronger chili flavor, add more chili powder 1 or 2 TBS at a time. To make it more spicy, add black pepper 1 TBS at a time. If you want it to have more bite, add crushed red pepper 1 tsp at a time. If it needs salt, add salt 1/2 TBS at a time. Stir thoroughly each time you alter the flavor, and continue cooking for at least 5-15 minutes before tasting again. ALWAYS sir the pot thoroughly before you taste. Continue altering the flavor until it's perfect for you.

Remember the half of the raw onions and peppers that were added directly to the pot? They will tell you when the chili is done. When the raw onions in the pot start to turn clear, turn the burner off. Do not overcook the peppers and onions as they add a wonderful sweet crisp texture to the chili. If you can stand it, allow the chili to sit covered for about an hour to allow the flavors to mature and mingle. Stir and serve. If you prefer, reheat a portion of the chili in a smaller pot and serve bubbling hot. Allow the remaining chili to stand in the original pot until it cools enough to place in containers and freeze.

There you have it. Perfect chili. Just the way YOU like it.

The second secret that makes perfect chili fit for a king is in the serving. While perfect chili is in a category all by itself, it can be wonderfully enhanced by making it into a meal that rewards all your tastes and senses. Hot, cold, sweet, spicy, sharp, flat ... something for every aspect of your culinary pallet.

With that in mind, let's plan the meal. To begin with dispense with the ordinary salad and add something with more zest and contrast. To accomplish this, there is nothing finer than an ice-cold fruit plate served with bubbling hot chili. For the fruit plate, you will need the following ingredients.

1 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks.

1 29 oz. can of peach halves (heavy syrup preferred)

1 29 oz. can of pear halves (heavy syrup preferred)

1 6 oz. jar of red maraschino cherries

1 6 oz. jar of green maraschino cherries

1 samll jar of spiced crabapple rings

crisp cold lettuce

jalapeno pepper-jack cheese

Put all of the ingredients in the bottom of the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (48 hours would be better).

Just before serving time, remove the ingredients from the refrigerator and drain all the fruit. Divide the pear and peach halves equally on six salad plates covered with a bed of cold crisp lettuce. Fill in around the fruit halves with pineapple chunks and crabapple slices. Spread the cold red and green maraschino cherries equally over all the fruit plates, and line the outer edge of each plate with bite-size nuggets of jalapeno pepper-jack cheese.

Fill the bowls of chili straight from the bubbling pot. Top with grated sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Finish with a light dusting of chives. Serve the fruit plate and chili with hunks of hot buttered garlic bread and sweet iced tea. For dessert, follow up with pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, or hot blueberry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream ... served with steaming cups of strong black coffee. Oh! My!

Perfect chili can be more than just stick-to-your ribs "down home" cooking. It can be a culinary masterpiece that produces such delicious complementing and contrasting flavors and sensations that it is quite literally "Fit for a King".

Bon appetit!

Copyright 2004 by John Foutz All Rights Reserved

John Foutz has been marketing quality internet products since 1999. His latest offering "Cat Head Biscuits and Garlic Fried Chicken" represents Southern cooking at it's finest. 180 mouth-watering dishes that are family tried and tested. Authentic heirloom recipes from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeGourmet.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

TechCrunch

Whisk, the smart food platform that makes recipes shoppable, acquires competitor Avocando
TechCrunch
Whisk, the U.K. startup that has built a B2B data platform to power various food apps, including making online recipes 'shoppable', has acquired Avocando, a competitor based in Germany. The exact financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although ...


StarNewsOnline.com

6 skewer recipes to try Memorial Day weekend
StarNewsOnline.com
From appetizers to fruit and the main course to dessert -- anything and everything is better on a stick. This Memorial Day serve up some inspired skewers that will entertain and feed crowds. From appetizers drizzled in dressing to main courses that ...


WHAS11.com

Old Louisville recipes come to life on new walking tour
WHAS11.com
which offers recipes from Old Louisville and gives readers a glimpse into the architecture and interior design that makes the district so special. His newest walking tour series will tell the stories behind his latest book's recipes as well as a few ...


CNET

13 Instant Pot tips, recipes and features everyone should know
CNET
The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that also also sautés, slow cooks, makes poultry tender and juicy and can even be used for canning. While all the buttons, valves settings and accessories may seem daunting, we've rounded up some of our best tips to ...


KPTV.com

On the Go with Joe at Living Great with Nutrition and Recipes
KPTV.com
Getting in shape can mean hitting the gym, but it also includes eating healthy. With that in mind, Stephanie Gonzalez took that notion and made it an easy reality in Lake Oswego. Gonzalez hosts cooking classes at her business Living Great with ...


San Antonio Express-News

5 alternative burger recipes that go beyond the beef
San Antonio Express-News
Don't get me wrong. I love a big, beefy burger as much as the next person and am a major contributor to the reported 50 billion eaten annually by Americans, according a 2012 PBS report. But in a world that's in constant pursuit of building a better ...


Toledo Blade

Quick and easy recipes for observing the Muslim holy month
Toledo Blade
Ramadan Mubarak! The month of Ramadan, the most sacred on the Islamic calendar, continues until June 14. During this time, as one of the five pillars of Islam, observant Muslims fast — taking no food or liquid at all — from the first hint of daylight ...

and more »

ABC

Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Dipping Sauce
ABC
Clean the oil and grill grates and preheat the grill to high. Blend the marinade ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Place the tenderloin in a large bowl and coat it all over with the marinade. Use a knife to make small 1-inch pockets all ...


MyStatesman.com

Recipes to help you enjoy some of summer's bounty
MyStatesman.com
The new book chronicles the vast and varied stories of food and food makers throughout the South today, incorporating a much more diverse perspective on what we call “Southern food” than we typically see in books on this regional cuisine, such as ...


Simplemost

10 Easy Summer Dinner Recipes To Please The Whole Family
Simplemost
Summer is a great time to experiment with seasonal ingredients and lighter dishes that are perfect for eating al fresco. Life tends to slow down in the summer, and with the kids out of school, it can be the ideal time of year to get in some quality ...

Google News

Broccoli Rabe with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Broccoli is a major EnergyRich ?, food and strength builder.... Read More

Home Made Ice Cream Recipe for Coffee Can Ice Cream

The very best thing about having birthday cake is the... Read More

Chicken with White Wine & Pasta

Here is a great recipe that is so simple to... Read More

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Homemade cookies from scratch in 20 minutes!!? 2 six-ounce packages... Read More

Do I Really Need to Follow a Recipe?

These days, its seems like everyone is looking for different... Read More

Low-Carb Pastry Pizzazz

This delicious treat adds only 1.9 grams of carb for... Read More

Easy Insalata Caprese

It's tomato time! If you're a gardener, you might be... Read More

Basic Quick Mix and Recipes

With an easy basic quick mix, you can make a... Read More

Ma Po Tou Tu (Bean Curd with Chili Sauce)

Ma Po Tou Fu is Sichuan's well known characteristic dish.... Read More

Vegetarian Gourmet----Meatless Makeovers

Three years ago I decided to go "meatless." It wasn't... Read More

Straight Talk from a Comfort Foodie - Moms Remedy for the Blues

As puberty crept up and I became a passive passenger... Read More

Weight Loss Recipe: Oven Fried Chicken

Enjoy the sensation of fried chicken without the extra calories... Read More

Digging Up Earthnuts (Conopodium Majus)

The custom of grubbing for Earthnuts, or Pignuts is as... Read More

Spanish Food - The Perfect Paella

Looking for a traditional Spanish recipe? Without doubt, the best-known... Read More

Canarian Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

For the British at least, Shrove Tuesday is probably better... Read More

The Official Parenting Cheesecake Recipe

Whoever writes all those fancy cookbooks has never been a... Read More

Mrs. Butters? Secret Key Lime Pie Recipe

"Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe?" Fern Butters asked. "Child, I'll... Read More

Straight Talk from a Comfort Foodie - Fast Food

My parents lived for convenience when it came to feeding... Read More

How to Easily Make Sourdough French Toast Like Cracker Barrel

I got an idea one day when I was in... Read More

Party Appetizer Recipes ? So Easy And So Affordable!

These are two of my favorite party appetizer recipes that... Read More

Spanish Recipes - Tempting Tapas Dishes

Spain is famous for its tapas and, whichever Spanish bar... Read More

Light Veal Recipes to Barbeque or to Broil

With everyone watching their weight and seeking out recipes that... Read More

Handy Home-Prepared Mixes

Pre-packaged store-bought box mixes are expensive. Have you considered homemade... Read More

Weight Loss Recipe: Fish In Orange Sauce

Lean protein is your diet is essential to weight loss... Read More

Low Carb Christmas Enchiladas!

FELIZ NAVIDAD...IT'S A LOW CARB CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS FIESTA!We low carbers... Read More