Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall means Chili

Fall, my favorite time of the year in Northern California.  It means an end to another drought ridden summer of no rain and not even the sight of a cloud for months.  Fall means cool delta breezes, trips up to Apple Hill, the Amador wine country fall crush, and enjoying the outdoors in sub-100 F temperatures.   And of course, fall means waking early to watch Florida Gator 9am.  Soon, the rain will transform the Sierra Foothills from a scored golden brown to lush green.  It's funny that every year it's as if everyone forgets how to drive in the rain, so it's best to stay home the first few rainfalls.   Not to mention, who wants to be out in the rain anyway.  I'd much rather be home curled up with a good book and eating some homemade chili.

I came across this recipe in 2006 while at our typical Gator football hangout...The Wilson's house.   Lisa served up the absolutely best chili for the game.  This recipe is remarkably easy to make and it could even be done in the slow cooker.    At times that I don't have the Heinz chili sauce on hand, I use a knock-off recipe that is excellent (recipe is listed below).

Serving suggestions:
~with cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers/cornbread
~Cincinnati Chili: Serve over spaghetti. Top with diced raw onions & grated cheddar cheese
~Texas Chili: Serve over rice.

Elaine/Lisa's Chili
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 T. chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can tomatoes (diced, whole, seasoned, whatever)
1 (12 oz) botttle Heinz Chili sauce
1/2 t. dried oregano
3 t. sugar
1/2 t. dried basil
1 tomato, diced
1 bay leaf
dash Tabasco sauce
1 can kidney beans
1/4 t. dry mustard
1 t. cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Cook onion & bell pepper in a pan until soft. Add meat, cook. Drain if needed. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. 

1 cup tomato puree
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 t. onion flakes (or 1 1/2 t. powder)
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. lemon juice
1/8 t. garlic powder
Whisk together in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.

Geo's Cornbread (the good sweet kind)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Update 1/25/2011:
After having chili in a sourdough bread bowl at Boudin Bakery, we though we would try to do it at home.  Granted we didn't have the real deal Boudin Bakery San Francisco sourdough, our homemade chili in a grocery store sourdough bread bowl tasted great! We toasted the bread bowl, filled it up with chili and topped it with some sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!

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