Sunday, October 9, 2011

Almost Mama's Chili

In past posts I may have made my mom seem like the worst cook on the planet... this, in reality, may have been a creative hyperbole. It's just a running joke in my family because my dad does most of the cooking. My mom does the baking.

My dad is a great cook... he taught me everything i know (almost), but he once tried to broil a cake for my mom... obviously NOT the baker of the family!

My mom, on the other hand, is great at baking. She makes a mean chocolate sheet cake, amazing almond poppy-seed bread, and so many others, but she is lacking in the creativity and guess work that my dad has in the cooking area. HOWEVER, there are about 3 or 4 things that my mom cooks extremely well, and she could do it with her eyes closed! One of these few things is her Chili! YUUUUUMMMM, Chili!

I grew up eating this chili at least a couple times a year in the winter, and it was always one of my favorites! So, naturally, when I moved out, I missed it and had to learn to make it on my own. The recipe changed a bit when moving hands from mother to daughter, but either recipe is great, comforting, and filling... a pot of it would feed me in college for about a week!

Enough of this though... here's the recipe:

What you'll need:
15 oz Brooks Chili Hot Beans
3 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1.5-2 lb ground beef
1 medium white onion finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbl. chili powder
1-2 Tbl. Sugar
Paprika (1/2 Tbl.)
Cumin (2 tsp.)
Nutmeg (1 tsp.)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)
1-2 tsp. Salt (to taste)
Cayenne pepper for extra spicy-ness! (add slowly, to your specific heat preference)

Brown the ground beef, chopped onion, and garlic together in a pan. Once Onion and garlic are soft add 1 Tbl. of the chili powder to the meat mixture and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until browned.

In a big pot mix together the beans, tomato sauce, and a little water from rinsing each can. Simmer and mix together. When beef mixture is finished, stir it in.

Now comes the fun part: My mom's recipe is simple; it calls for salt, pepper, sugar, and chili powder...that's all! Simple right!

BUT I couldn't leave it that simple, I like to add a few more things! Definitely add in those ingredients (I use less sugar than my mom, though.)  In addition to my mom's recipe, I like to add a few more things... paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, and cumin.

How much of each? Well that's the subjective part... you get to decide that for yourself, I don't usually measure. Just sprinkle... taste... smell... repeat. If that scares you to death, I put some suggestions above in parenthesis. Keep in mind these are very rough estimates because I don't actually measure... ever.

Overall this recipe is extremely easy, fairly quick, and absolutely delicious! Everyone has their favorite way to eat chili and here are some of the best ways for this recipe:
  • My favorite: with Frito's and sharp cheddar cheese mixed in! Mmmm, Frito Pie!
  • My Dad's: Leftover chili over spaghetti noodles, chili-mac style
  • My boyfriend Ben: with a dollop of sour cream and LOTS of cheese
  • My sister's: with lots of Frito's and all the beans picked off to the side :)

Doesn't really matter, just find your favorite way, and enjoy on a cool fall or winter day!

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