Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Feast

Shane doesn't usually want chili in warm weather; he says it makes him feel too warm. I can eat chili year 'round. To me, having a bowl of chili is no different -- in terms of heat or heartiness -- than eating a burrito or enchilada meal or a bowl of ham and beans, both of which we have during the summer.

To each his own, I guess.

It was warm outside yesterday, but it looked cool, so we had our first chili of the season last night. I would like to have waited until today, which may turn out to be the coolest day we've had yet this fall, but today was Papa John's Night (a fundraiser for Kat's school). So last night we had chili, along with a mixed green salad and apple crisp.

There are almost as many chili recipes as there are cooks to make them. I've never found one I didn't like, although I prefer a basic recipe over one that has lots of ingredients.

How do you make your chili?

When I was growing up, my mom made thin, soupy chili. I'm guessing that was to stretch the meal far enough to feed six kids and two adults. Either that or it's the way my dad preferred it. Or it was the way her mom made it. Mom's chili is good, especially with lots of crackers, some chopped onion and a bit of ketchup.

However, I prefer to make a thicker chili, and one that's heavy on the beans. All of us here like it with sour cream and corn chips, maybe a little shredded cheddar cheese. If I have time, and think about it ahead of time, I will cook up some pinto beans to go in it. If I forget or I'm in a hurry, I use canned chili beans. Here's the basic recipe:

Annie's Basic Chili

2 cups dry pinto beans
2 teaspoons salt
2 packets chili seasoning mix
1 pound ground beef, cooked, drained and rinsed (can use ground pork or turkey)
1 can condensed tomato soup

Cook beans with salt with plenty of water until tender. Cook down the broth or add additional water as needed so that beans are in a cup or so of broth. Stir in both packets of chili seasoning mix. Or use 2 (15 oz.) cans of chili beans with their liquid and just one packet of chili seasoning mix.

Cook, drain and rinse ground meat. Add to beans.

Stir in tomato soup. If using the canned chili beans, you may want to add an additional can of soup to even out the flavors.

Stir well and simmer for about an hour, stirring often. Should chili become too thick, add a little water or tomato juice to thin.

Serve with toppings of your choice.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

And here's the recipe for the apple crisp.

Apple Crisp

4 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 4 medium)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1/2 cup oats (any kind)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8" square baking dish with pan spray.

Place apple slices evenly in bottom of dish.

Combine remaining ingredients until well-mixed and crumbly. Sprinkle all of mixture over top of apples.

Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream or a drizzling of cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


ajooja said...

I just finished eating chili for lunch! :)

It was my wife's, which is code for basic, decent, diner-quality chili.

My chili is hawsome! I never measure anything. I throw in a decent amount of onions, garlic, hot sauce, brown sugar, lots of good stuff. Everything is pretty standard except for A1 sauce and a dash of cinnamon. Spicy and sweet without being too hot or too thick/thin. Perfect.

Tug said...

I'm not a measurer either.
Kuners chili beans, kidney beans, onions, celery, chili powder, hamburger, then I buy the diced tomatoes - mexican, italian, or just some with spices in them depending on my mood. I like mine runny enough that I can crunch up crackers or fritos in it, and yep - add cheese & sour cream!

Now I'm hungry for chili. ;-)

Striving Green said...

It's chili weather here too. Just like your husband, I can't eat it unless it's cool outside. I like my chili spicy, but since the kids won't eat it that way, here's my mild chili recipe (you can make it soupy too, just keep adding broth).

Tofu is optional!

Striving Green said...

Whoops, here's the mild chili link!