Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mean Hot Chunky Chili Con Carne

My specialty being soups of all kinds, the thing they all have in common, is that they have big, luscious chunks of vegetables and meat in them. I just couldn't have it any other way. I tend to put all my health conscious ideas on the back burner, and concentrate on taste that keeps people coming back time and again to fill their bowl. Soups are also so much fun to make, as well as an excellent way to introduce cooking to kids!
My Mean Hot Chunky Chili con Carne is easy to make and takes 1 hour from start to finish (not counting some simmer time) and starts with a huge stock pot that holds at least 20-24 qts. Keep in mind that you can cut down all the ingredients to fit the pot and amount of chili you would like to make. So, getting back to the chili, I crumble 6 lb. of lean ground beef into the pot and begin cooking on low and stirring occasionally. Next I chop my veggies. You can do this ahead if you wish, but it always works out fine for me this way. I chop 2 large green peppers, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, all into bite-size strips. Don't dice them small or they whither away to soft little nothings. Place them in the pot and stir with the frying meat. Next, four medium to large onions, chopped in chunks, and added to the meat. I wish I had a secret to add here about keeping your eyes from watering, but I just haven't figured that one out yet, and after trying all the little advice tidbits about it, frankly they just don't work. If you're sensitive to onions, you will cry like a baby at this point. Next are the jalapeno peppers. I use about six medium size peppers and these I slice as thin as I can possibly get them. I like to use the green ones, but the red are just as tasty. Add these as well and continue stirring. By now the meat should be browning quite nicely and the veggies softening up. The scrumptious aroma of peppers and onions is filling your kitchen. Now my health nut blooper...the cholesterol watchers will be asking if they should drain the meat. NO! Sorry folks, but since we are using lean meat, we are keeping our grease right where it the soup. It has taken on the very taste of the beginnings of chili now and to discard it would be a mistake.
Now we are ready to add our canned ingredients, providing the meat is thoroughly browned. Remember this is a huge pot, so my amounts of beans will look large too. Here we go. Open and add a large 28-32 oz. can of both light red kidney beans and great northern white beans. Add 1 or 2 small cans of dark red kidney beans. Next, add 1 can of corn, juice and all, and 2 large cans of diced tomatoes. As a side note, you could dice about 6 large tomatoes instead of the canned, but I find it keeps fuss and mess to a minimum to use canned tomatoes. So...stir all this together. Now we are ready for the makings of the broth, which will simply be a vessel to carry the chunky veggies and the chili taste. Add 2 large cans of tomato sauce, a large jar of speghetti sauce in whatever flavor strikes you as delicious, a medium can of tomato paste and a can of tomato soup. Mix well. If you find you need more juice in the chili, add more tomato products.
If you were to taste it now, it is certainly a treat already, but we need to add chili powder, and lots of it. For this huge pot of chili, I stir in 1 to 2 containers of chili powder. Keep in mind that you must stir and taste, stir and taste, as you add the chili powder, as everyones preference is different. Remember we already added jalepeno peppers as well, and they are cooking into every fiber of our chili. When you are satisfied with the taste, it is time to just leave it to simmer on the stove for about at least 2 hrs. Again, I emphasize that this recipe is designed for the large stock pot that I used, but it is possible to down size the amount made.
Serving your chili should be more than just slopping it into bowls, although thats what you may find your family doing as they come back for more and more. Try sprinkling shredded cheddar cheese over the bowls of chili and serving with fresh Italian bread and sweet butter. At the bakery you can get various types of bread shaped in balls that you hollow out to make "bread bowls" to serve your chili in, and the ripped out centers can be buttered bite-size or dipped into the soup. And here is a favorite way of mine to prepare and eat 2 servings of my chili for a hearty meal: boil 1 1/2 cups of water. Melt 2 slices of American cheese into the water and remove from heat as soon as it is melted. Add 1 1/2 cups of minute rice, stir and cover for 6 minutes. When the liquid is absorbed, serve the "cheese rice" onto plates and top with chili. Mmm Mmm Good!
Ingredient List for large stock pot of Mean Hot Chunky Chili con carne
6 lb. lean ground beef
2 large green peppers
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
4 medium to large onions
6 medium jalepeno peppers any color you like
28-32 oz. can light red kidney beans
28-32 oz. can great northern white beans
2 small cans dark red kidney beans
1 can of corn
2 large cans diced tomatoes (or 6 fresh diced tomatoes if you prefer)
2 large cans tomato sauce
1 large jar speghetti sauce any flavor
1 medium can tomato paste
1 can tomato soup
1-2 containers chili powder
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh Italian bread and butter


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