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What makes a good chilli? {from General Topics]

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What makes a good chilli? {from General Topics]

Karl S | Jun 17, 2007 11:53 AM

At the risk of being deleted or moved to the Home Cooking Board (where recipes are generally herded), I would say that, when I am making a ground-meat-and-beans type chili con carne (not Texas style), I've come to learn to replace ground beef with a combination of ground turkey and ground buffalo. Far tastier, believe it or not, and one of the rare instances were lower fat tasted better (I am generally of the school that fat and flavor are correlated in a positive way). I like to use fire-roasted tomatoes, fire-roasted corn and fire-roasted salsa verde, too.

To see what I mean, here's a recipe I invented from scratch on a cold week in mid-February and have refined a bit since. The bonus is that the nutritional profile of this chili is fantastic, and has garnered major raves from family and neighbors asking for more. I now think it's fit for Thanksgiving Day - other than the onion, garlic and some seasonsings, all of the ingredients are New World in origin. This is the first time I am publishing it in public, as it were (unlike the hoary repeats I repeat repeatedly on these boards...).

Karl’s AAA (Almost All-American) Chili

1 lb ground buffalo

20 oz ground turkey

At least 6 oz onion (2 small yellow onions), coarsely chopped; you may also add minced garlic to taste (for a more pronounced garlic flavor, add it at the end of cooking)

Spices:
- 2 tablespoons or more of quality chili powder (I use Penzey’s),
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (make it Mexican if you can find it),
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (half for mild, more for hot)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (ditto)
- 0.5 tablespoon ground cumin
- 0.5 tablespoon ground coriander
- If out of fresh garlic (it happens), add 1 tablespoon garlic powder (1T)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste (also, if the tomatoes turn out to be just too acidic (it happens, too), a pinch or two of granulated sugar might be in order if you like.)

0.5 cup fire-roasted salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) (I use the one from Whole Foods)

Two 28 oz cans of Muir Glen crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

One 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed [you can also substitute equivalent amounts of any dried, rehydrated and parboiled beans you like]

One 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed [ditto]

One 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed [ditto]

1lb frozen corn (shoepeg white corn or Trader Joe's roasted corn niblets preferred)

* * *
Use a large (at least 5 quarts, preferably larger) heavy pot. Brown the meat (adding a few pinches of salt to draw out the water) over medium heat until cooked through but not dark or crust. Then create a space at the bottom center of the pot for the onion (and garlic, if you like); let that cook in the rendered juices until soft. Then mix in the spices & salsa and let them cook a few minutes until fully aromatic. Then add the tomatoes, beans and corn, and simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 30-45 minutes (longer if using parboiled dried beans rather than canned beans), stirring occasionally. If the chili is too watery at that point, you puree a cup of it and add that puree back in to thicken it. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes about 18 cups (4.5 cups)
Nutritional information per cup: 201 calories, 5.2 grams fat (23%), 1.6 grams saturated fat; 22 grams carbohydrate (44%), 5.6 grams fiber, and 16.4 grams protein (33%)

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