Saturday, October 15, 2005

A bowlful of chili

Today marks the first ceremonial pot of chili of Autumn 2005. When I first moved to Greece I was somewhat worried. Would I be able to get kidney beans? Chili powder? Amazingly enough, the answer was yes. And it seems that Jerry Seinfeld's prop master uses the same kidney beans, because we were watching Seinfeld the other day and lo and behold, he had the same brand of kidney beans (S&W) on his kitchen shelf. How weird.

My husband, of course, had never really had chili until he met me. Now he is an addict, and he bugs me daily for a pot of chili. I had to make a firm rule: only in the fall and winter months. For some reason chili just doesn't taste right when it is warm outside, just like soup. I even cooked chili for the in-laws once, although I wasn't really sure they liked it.

The best thing about this recipe is that it is easy to whip up. I have no idea where the recipe originally came from, all I know is it is the one my mother always used. In the interest of recipe sharing, here goes:

1 tbsp olive oil (or more or less to taste)
chopped fresh garlic to taste (I usually use a couple of cloves)
1 lb (half kilo) ground beef (can also use ground pork or turkey)
one medium green pepper, chopped
one small onion, chopped
1 16 oz can (432 grams) dark red kidney beans
500 grams of tomato sauce (or 2- 8oz cans of tomato use, I used to use Hunt's in the U.S.)
1 tsp chili powder (or more or less to taste, I usually use more)
half tsp pepper
salt to taste

Mix oil, garlic, and meat in large pot, brown meat until done
Lower heat to medium, then add green pepper, onion, and beans with their juice, stir well into meat mixture
Stir in tomato sauce
Stir in spices
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let simmer on a low temperature for 45 to 90 minutes (depending on how thick you like your chili) stirring occasionally. Do not cover.

We usually top with grated cheddar cheese and tabasco sauce, some people top with sour cream as well. Great with fresh bread or cornbread.


Thanos said...

I actually - to set the record straight - had tasted chili before I met Mel, but not the "original" thing (I'd had some in pubs in England and at Wendy's). Mel's chili is pretty damn good let me tell you - best I've ever had for sure.

The SeaWitch said...

I introduced my husband and friends to mexican food because I just got bored with cooking greek food all the time. You want to HEAR the complaints about how spicy my cooking was in the, I can put a whole bottle of tabasco in and my husband will stay it's bland. He loves chili and burritos now. From what I see, we use exactly the same recipe (but I will add some cumin just for fun). LOL I also make chicken tortilla casserole and they love it.

Cynthia Rae said...

I cook mexican food for my italian husband and he loves it. He has never had chili and can not wait to try out this recipe. Thanks! Let's all say a prayer that I won't burn it (or myself)!


melusina said...

SeaWitch, I just wish there was a good Mexican restaurant around here. There may be one in Athens, but there isn't really one in Thessaloniki. I have a friend from Nashville who started a business in Prague, a TexMex restaurant but ended up marketing products all over the Balkans. He isn't importing to Greece yet, unfortunately. I've never experimented with cumin before, I have no cumin experience. I can be iffy with some spices (curry makes me want to throw up, just the smell) so I am always wary.

Cynthia, the recipe is easy, I'm sure you won't burn yourself or the food. =)