Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Batton down the hatches

Yesterday the weather in the Bay Area was miserable. The first big rain of the season, complete with huge winds, occasional floods and power outages swept through the area. Luckily, we were all ready for it since for the three days before the meteorologists had been warning us as if the Apocalypse were coming. So late Monday night, after putting my mother and her friend onto their red-eye flight back East, I came home to snuggle into bed for the night, letting the sound of rain on my skylights lull me to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to everything that the weathermen had been predicting. The weather outside was absolutely gross, so I took advantage of my flexible sales job and called it a "work from home" day, and set about to do the only proper thing on a day like that - I made chili.

I got my basic recipe from my mother, and over the years have adjusted it a bit to fit my own tastes, following ideas that I've gotten from other sources. It's made in a Crockpot (my all time favorite kitchen appliance), and makes your kitchen smell like heaven. During the fall and winter I make it a habit to always have the ingredients for it on hand (meat safely in the freezer) for days like yesterday when the last thing you want is to have to run to the store. Oh, and it's best served in big bowls, pasta bowls if you have them, while sitting in front of the TV, blanket over your lap, loved one by your side.

Here is the basic recipe, and at the end are the substitutions/add ons that I've been doing lately. Feel free to adapt it in your own way, and portion off any leftovers into tupperware containers to freeze - it works beautifully.

Crock Pot Chili

1 ½ lbs ground beef

1 med onion chopped

1 can dark red kidney beans

1 can light red kidney beans

1 can red kidney beans

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 (16) oz can tomato sauce

1 (16) oz can stewed tomatoes

1 small can chopped green chilies

¼ tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp black pepper

2 shakes crushed red pepper

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vinegar

Brown beef with onion; drain well. Combine beef with all other ingredients in large crock pot. Simmer on low heat all day (at least 8 hours). Serve with crackers or corn chips. Top with shredded cheese.

*For the last few years, I've been using a pound of ground turkey and a log of breakfast sausage instead of ground beef. Just using turkey works just fine, and once I even used two packages of veggie burger crumbles to accommodate a vegetarian I was cooking for, and it worked great!

*If I have it on hand, I'll add about half of a dark beer. Nothing lighter than an Amber. If I do this, I usually only use about half of the crushed tomatoes, so that there isn't too much liquid.

*I add about a tablespoon of curry powder

*I serve it with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Chipotle Tobasco as condiments.

*Homemade cornbread or Fritos on the side are a must.


Anonymous Hungry Dog said...

This sounds like the perfect thing for the crap weather we had yesterday! I need to get myself a crock pot. And anything that goes with Fritos...sign me up.

Glad the weather seems tamer today.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

You totally should! They are really fabulous. :)

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't you mean Cumin instead of curry? mom

6:34 AM  

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