Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A pot of chili, a loaf of bread, and thou.

Ok, so it turned out to be two pots of chili, because "thou" doesn't like beans...and Fred came over for dinner, so I guess it should be: Two pots of chili, a loaf of bread, Fred, and thou...
...but first! Elly had her first non-baby-food food. And of course, it was pizza, bbq chicken pizza...and of course, she loved it.


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On to the chili...

After what seemed like months of continually busy weekends, we finally had a break. So I took advantage of it by doing what makes me happy...cooking. I cooked all weekend, starting with the pizzas, making the chili powder, making a HUGE batch of chicken stock for the freezer, and cooking a wonderful pot of chili.

I decided to make the chili entirely on my Big Green Egg, so I got some advice on dutch oven cooking from my fellow "eggheads" at http://www.eggheadforum.com/, found a good chili recipe, and got cookin'.

I had made a batch of spare ribs a few weeks earlier, and had put the trimmings in the freezer. I decided that adding smoked rib meat to the chili could only be a good thing, so I mixed some chili powder I had made the night before with salt and sugar to make a bbq rub, and smoked the rib trimmings for a few hours. Here they are fresh out of the fridge and on the Egg. I was struck by the beautiful red and green colors of the chili powder.
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Once the ribs were done, I brought the temperature up in the egg, and roasted some fresh plum tomatoes right down near the coals. Once they had cooled, I skinned, seeded and crushed them, saving as much juice as possible.
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I had some uncooked brisket left over in the fridge, so I diced some of it, and ground the rest. Both batches got browned in the dutch oven.
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Then the onions were sauteed, and the peppers (jalapeno and serrano) and garlic were added...
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...followed by the chili powder and other spices, and the tomatoes...
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...and then the liquid. Rather than using just water, I cleaned out the freezer, and used up the last of my beef stock, and chicken stock, and then added a beer, for good measure. I also added the smoked rib meat.
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Once all the ingredients (except the beans) were in, I let the chili cook for a few hours (half with the dutch oven lid on, and the rest with it off) and then cooled it, and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, a chilly (no pun intended) football Sunday, I brought the pot out of the fridge, set a portion aside for bean-free Cori, and added a can of kidney beans to the main batch. While the chili(s) got a final bit of cooking, I baked a loaf of bread (also a first in the Egg, simply because I could).
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It all turned out quite good, though, if I had one complaint, it would be that the recipe called for too much chili powder. I should have followed my instincts when I saw how much I was supposed to add, and only added half, tasted, and added more as necessary. The chili wasn't overpoweringly hot, but it had a bit of an aftertaste from so much spice. But it was still oh, so good.

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