September 23, 2008

Jen's Spicy Beef Chili

I was feeling really bad yesterday...worse than the day before. I felt awful and my son was acting like a total pill from being cooped up in the house without much attention from me. He seriously watched the most TV he has ever watched in one sitting, yesterday. I think he set a new toddler TV record! Thank goodness for our DVR. At least he was watching parentally approved programming. I had a fever and I felt super-crappy so I let the excessive TV watching slide. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and be left alone long enough to take a nap. I was so happy that my husband took pity on me and came home early so I could get some rest.

When I woke up I had a big craving for my homemade chili. He offered to look up a recipe on the Internet, but I specifically wanted MY chili. I learned how to make my chili from my dad and that was the only thing that would satisfy my craving. The only problem was that there is not a recipe written down, and I did not feel well enough to make it myself. So, having the awesome husband that I have...he volunteered to make it based on my instructions. I laid on the couch and coached him through making my chili. The only time I go up was to check to see what stage we were at during certain preparation steps (i.e. checking how ingredients were cooking by sight to judge if it was time to add the next ingredient). Overall, my husband did great. The chili turned out exactly like it was supposed to taste!

I was very proud. He even made biscuits to have on the side! Also, he suggested a new serving method. We had some Yukon Gold potatoes that were on the brink of being not usable. So, my husband microwaved the potatoes until soft and then smashed them in the bottom of our serving plates (really wide shallow bowls) with salt and a little butter. Then, he ladled the chili on top of the potatoes, so the potatoes were covered completely. We topped with sour cream and ate the chili with the chunks of potatoes. It was so good. I told him that we should always serve chili like that from now on.

I think my fever broke in the middle of eating my spicy chili. I seriously started sweating like crazy while we were eating (I know that is probably TMI...)and I felt remarkably better. I can't tell you how much better I felt after we ate. I fully believe my super-spicy chili helped!!!! I am convinced it broke my fever!!!!! So, thanks to my chili, today I almost feel like a normal person again! Now, I totally think that my chili recipe can be used as a therapeutic cold medicine. It is not just yummy, but it is good for you too! I made sure to write out the recipe this morning, so my chili can cure other afflicted people.

Jen’s Spicy Beef Chili

1 Tablespoon of canola oil
1 white onion, diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 whole tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 pound of ground beef
1 can of kidney beans, unrinsed/undrained
1 can of northern beans, unrinsed/undrained
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup of chicken or beef stock
1 packet of chili seasoning (I use hot)
1 large can of plain tomato sauce
1 small can of green chiles (for mild chili) OR ½ a small can of jalapeños (for spicy/hot chili)
1 Tablespoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon of minced onion
2 Tablespoons of chili powder
1 Tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 ounces of low fat cream cheese, small cubes
½ cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ to 1 cup of water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Spray dutch oven or soup pot with cooking spray and add canola oil on medium-high heat.
2) Sauté onion, carrots, celery, and a big pinch of salt in pan. Sauté until onions & celery are soft and onions are translucent.
3) Add tomato paste and let sauté for a few minutes (until fragrant and the paste starts to turn to a deeper/darker color).
4) Add ground beef to brown and mix with vegetables, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
5) Add garlic and jalapeños (OR green chiles for mild version) sauté for another 1-2 minutes (do not let garlic burn).
6) Add all spices: (paprika, onion powder, minced onion, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander), package of chili seasoning, stock, and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
7) Add can of tomato sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and add both kidney and white/northern beans. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir to combine.
8) Add water. Stir to combine. (Adjust water quantity based on desired consistency).
9) Cover and let chili simmer on low for 45 minutes. If chili is too thin, uncover, turn up heat to medium and let reduce to desired thickness; approximately another 15 minutes.
10) When chili is finished cooking, stir in cubed cream cheese and shredded cheese until melted and thoroughly combined.
11) Serve in bowls topped with sprinkle of shredded cheese and dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

Jen's Notes:
If you need extra thickener, take 1 ladel-full of sauce from pot and put it in a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of corn starch and combine thoroughly. Add back to chili, and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and chili should be at desired consistency. If too thick, appropriate amount of water.

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