Friday, 2 November 2012

Steak Chili

Well here I am back again. Still with a very sore wrist, but the Canadian health care system might require months and months of red tape before it ever gets looked at, and here we are facing an early winter. So like Florence Nightingale, here I come to the rescue with something to warm you up from your head to your toes!
This is an old standby for me from back in my Alberta days. But a move to Arizona definitely put this one on the back burner for a decade or so. So when I hauled it out of my memory bank one chilly day in November for Sunday football, I suddenly became the Chili Goddess. I'm almost certain a dozen hungry young men with more than a few beers under their belt added to my legend, but I'll take the applause none the less.
Don't be frightened by the ingredient list. Most of it hopefully consists of things you already have on hand, and if you don't, then it's time to invest in the ingredients because Canadian winters are long, and you'll make this one often. Now I call this steak chili because I don't use ground beef. You can if you like. It's a pregnancy thing for me. The smell of ground beef browning was one of those intolerable experiences for me, and I just never got over it. So I use top sirloin.
You'll need:
1 or 2 pounds (depending on how many people you have. 2 pounds for a Superbowl experience, or 1 for regular season games) of either lean ground beef, or as I prefer, top sirloin. If you use sirloin, cube it into smallish bite size chunks. If you do a 2 pounds of meat extravaganza, double all of your vegetables.
Use your big pot either way.
1 diced onion
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
10 or 12 big sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper
1 large can of tomatoes (or if you're jazzy like me, you'll have your own canned in mason jars!)
1 can of kidney beans (or black turtle beans just for the fun of it. And if you use black beans, also add a can of corn to give it a southwestern flair)
vegetable oil to brown your meat - about 3 tablespoons
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
1 few good splashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of coriander
3 tablespoons of chili powder - good sized ones. This is the key ingredient.
A few drops of Tabasco sauce. Just a couple because you can add heat before you serve, but you can never take heat away if you went wild with it at the start.
For garnish some shredded cheddar, chopped onion, sour cream and if you used the black beans and corn, some chopped cilantro and chopped jalapenos. And you can put Tabasco sauce on the serving table for the maniacs.
Lots of fresh crusty bread. I like a French loaf, but use whatever bread you like.
As I always tell my ladygirls, set out every single one of your ingredients first. Never scramble around the kitchen looking for things, only to discover you have to jump in the car to go buy an onion once your meat has started to brown.
Dice up all of your meat and vegetables first. But slice the celery and mushrooms and mince the garlic. Make everything into chunky size because this will simmer for hours and if you chop everything too small, you'll just end up with soup.
Brown your meat over med heat and once it gets brown, add the onions and stir that for a couple of minutes until the onion gets soft, then add your garlic. Stir and after a minute or so, add your celery, mushrooms, tomatoes and green pepper. Let this all mingle around for a couple of minutes, stirring and then add your salt, sugar, Worcestershire, pepper, cumin, coriander, hot sauce and chili powder. Stir it all up and reduce your heat to med low and cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Or even 3 hours won't hurt. But be stirring it pretty often. Every time you or somebody gets a cold beer is a good rule of thumb.
30 minutes before you serve it, add the beans and prepare your garnish. Slice your bread only just before you serve. Taste it for heat and saltiness just after you add the beans. If it's too watery, leave the lid off for 20 minutes. If it gets too dry at any time, add a bit of water. But usually there is no need for this. Keeping it to just a simmer will give you a perfect consistency, so watch your heat isn't too hot.
I serve this buffet style. Just put out your bowls and your garnish and put a big ladle in the pot so people can help themselves. This looks like a big recipe to make, but really it's so easy because once everything gets into the pot, you're pretty much outta the kitchen. And the aroma will tantalize your guests all during the big game. So much fun. And I recommend you use the steak because you'll stand out from the crowd for all time to come! In fact, you'll be known as the "Steak Chili" person! Enjoy. And serve it with beer of course!

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