Warm up with Craig Allen’s favorite Chili (recipe)

Warm up with Craig Allen’s favorite Chili (recipe)

Is it cold enough for you, New Jersey?

Earlier this week, Bill Spadea was talking about hearty, warm soup (check it out here)

To that, I offer my favorite chili recipe.

You will like it. Bill will like it.

It’s warm and “meaty.”

Besides, how can you go wrong with a recipe that calls for a bottle of beer? And…chocolate?

Some of the ingredients that you will need.(Craig Allen photo)

Some of the ingredients that you will need. (Craig Allen photo)

Let’s get started…You need:

Start browning the hamburger. (Craig Allen photo)

Start browning the hamburger. (Craig Allen photo)

2 & 1/2 lb lean chuck, ground (hamburger).

Grab a package (or tube) of ground pork. (Craig Allen photo)

Grab a package (or tube) of ground pork. (Craig Allen photo)

1 lb lean pork, ground.

Like with the beef, brown the pork in a large pan.

The beef and pork are in my “Dutch Oven.” (Craig Allen photo)

The beef and pork are in my “Dutch Oven.” (Craig Allen photo)

Once cooked, put the meat in a large pot.

Got onions? (Craig Allen photo)

Got onions? (Craig Allen photo)

Then, add…

I use my electric chopper…I cry less. (Craig Allen photo)

I use my electric chopper…I cry less. (Craig Allen photo)

1 C finely chopped…

The onions go in. (Craig Allen photo)

The onions go in. (Craig Allen photo)

…onion.

Then, add:

Add 4 of these…1/2 teaspoon. (Craig Allen photo)

4 of these…1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. (Craig Allen photo)

4 cloves finely chopped garlic (NOTE: 1/2 t = 1 clove garlic).

Add the tomato sauce. (Craig Allen photo)

Add the tomato sauce. (Craig Allen photo)

The recipe calls for (1) 8 oz can of tomato sauce (I usually go with a 16 oz can of tomato sauce….I like more tomato flavor).

1 Cup of water goes in. (Craig Allen photo)

1 Cup of water goes in. (Craig Allen photo)

1 C water (fresh from the tap).

Next, the secret ingredient you’ve been waiting for:

Grab a “barley pop.” (Craig Allen photo)

Grab a “barley pop.” (Craig Allen photo)

What, you’ve never heard the term “barley pop?”  It goes back to my college years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

GO, Badgers!

Yeah, I graduated, with Honors. (Craig Allen photo archives)

Yeah, I graduated, with Honors. (Craig Allen photo archives)

Anyway…

1 barley pop = 1 can/bottle of beer (12 oz).

Now, give everything a good stir…

Give your “Chili-in-the-making” a good stir. (Craig Allen photo)

Give your “Chili-in-the-making” a good stir. (Craig Allen photo)

…because, here comes more “dry works.”

ADD:

Chili powder brings the heat. (Craig Allen photo)

Chili powder brings the heat. (Craig Allen photo)

3 Tablespoons chili powder.

A beef cube…NOT the “Borg.” (Craig Allen photo)

A beef cube…NOT the “Borg.” (Craig Allen photo)

2 Tablespoons instant beef bouillon (or 6 cubes).

Ground cumin gives a slightly smoky/earthy flavor. (Craig Allen photo)

Ground cumin gives a slightly smoky/earthy flavor. (Craig Allen photo)

2 Tablespoons ground cumin.

Paprika. (Craig Allen photo)

Paprika. (Craig Allen photo)

2 teaspoons paprika.

Are you still stirring your chili?  EXCELLENT.

Now, add:

Oregano. Yes, please. (Craig Allen photo)

Oregano. Yes, please. (Craig Allen photo)

2 teaspoons oregano leaves.

Where’s your sugar bowl? (Craig Allen photo)

Where’s your sugar bowl? (Craig Allen photo)

2 teaspoons sugar.

Just a little coriander will do. (Craig Allen photo)

Just a little coriander will do. (Craig Allen photo)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander.

I love “chocolate.” (Craig Allen photo)

I love “chocolate.” (Craig Allen photo)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa.

While the original recipe doesn’t call for chili beans, I believe that chili just isn’t chili without any beans…

I’m adding red beans, this time around. (Craig Allen photo)

I’m adding red beans, this time around. (Craig Allen photo)

So, I add 2 cans (any variety) of beans (drain off the liquid).

Finally, add 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more if you like your chili HOT, and I do!).

FYI, I didn’t add any this time, as the rest of my family is a bunch of wimps when it comes to food with “heat.”

Still with me?

Bring this AWESOME chili to a boil.

It’s bubbling away, as I stir. (Craig Allen photo)

It’s bubbling away, as I stir. (Craig Allen photo)

Now, turn down the heat, and let your chili simmer for somewhere between 1-2 hours.

You may want to cover the chili while it simmers…I leave the lid off, and let it cook down a little more (After all, I doubled the tomato sauce).

Why such a range in simmer times? I let it simmer for close to 2 hours when I used my favorite old metal pot.

Now, that I use a dutch oven (which holds heat better and longer), I find that 1 hour is fine.

IMPORTANT:  If you are multitasking while your chili simmers…give it a good stir every 10 minutes or so…so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot.

Chili…ready for serving. (Craig Allen photo)

Comfort food…ready for serving. (Craig Allen photo)

If your finished chili is (still) too “liquidy”…

If you want to (further) thicken the chili, in a small bowl, stir together:

1 teaspoon cornmeal

1 teaspoon flour

1 teaspoon warm water

Stir into chili, and cook (covered) for an additional 20 minutes.

NOTE: I’ve never found the need for this final step.

Have a spoonful of…wonderful. (Craig Allen photo)

Have a spoonful of…wonderful. (Craig Allen photo)

Enjoy your warm, meaty, hearty, new favorite, chili.

As is…or…

Sprinkle some grated cheese on top…or some sour cream.

Got nachos (tortilla chips)? Use a chip as a spoon.

ENJOY.

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