Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chili and Cheesemaking

Sunday night was crisp and cool and perfect for the season's first batch of chili. Most of my buds know of my deep, abiding love for chili, so this is always a good time of the year for me. On a later post, I'll go more into depth on my history with the soul-stirring dish that is a bowl of homemade chili. The K-Man always produces a seriously righteous chili but we decided to honor the Cookbook Challenge(#6) and found a similar recipe from Feasting On Asphalt, the Alton Brown cookbook. The chili recipe originated from Mickey's Dining Car in St. Paul, Minnesota. The ingredients are similar to Keith's but the methods differed for the better. The spices in this chili were added with the onions at the beginning(instead of the end when we typically made chili) and it made all the difference. This may be a Duh moment for most of you, but it was news to us. The spices crept up on you in such a pleasing way and we're thinking this must be what some chefs refer to as "layers of flavor". We kept elements of K's chili, such as using several types of beans such as black beans in with the kidney beans. We also added white shoepeg corn. It was so hearty, filling and flavorful that one full bowl bordered on overkill....dayum good.

The ever-intrepid K-Man of course, couldn't be satisfied with making sausage and has now made cheese. A soft, herb cheese to be exact. He ordered and received his supplies from Caprine who also sent various recipes. The recipe is quite involved and includes using a double boiler, using Rennet, a natural chemical, curds and whey being separated and being stored in cheesecloth and pressed(in our case, by cans of beans) for 12 hours. Our first taste test the next day yielded largely positive reviews outside of it needing a tad bit of salt.

I'll probably come home tomorrow to find the K-Man churning butter on the deck.

The Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium size yellow onion. chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups tomato puree
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans (and a couple of other types of beans, in our case)
1 cup water
We also added 1 15-ounce can of shoepeg corn.

Place the oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the onion, salt, chili powder, paprika and red pepper flakes and cook until onion is softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beef and brown thoroughly, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato puree, beans and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve.


Chili Man said...

This is an unusual chili recipe!! I am going to cook it this Saturday for my parents birthday party. Wish my luck

Confounded Cook said...

Awesome, Chili Man....good luck! Let me know how it turned out!

Linda C said...

My Dad and I have an ongoing battle over chili. He says his is the best and I say I mine's better. He makes his soupy with just a few beans, and I like mine thick with lots of beans. Whenever we decide to have chili, we make a mad dash to see who gets to the kitchen first, so we can make our favorite. Actually, everybody wins in the contest, we both make great chili. Here's a hint: no matter if you use lots of beans (I prefer kidney), or just a few; add one can of pork and beans. I know, I know, sounds weird, but it really brightens the flavor - try it.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Oooh, that DOES look good, Greg!

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