Back when I was a wee lad, my Dad challenged me to make a pot of chili using my own recipe. I did and it was good. It also scorched your mouth, nose, throat, esophagus, and stomach. Since those early days, my chili has grown more mild. You no longer break into a sweat when you taste the first bite. It still has a little kick (it's chili after all) but it is mild enough for children and Englishmen to enjoy.
Most of the measurements are approximate. Stick to the recipe and you won't go wrong. However, feel free to change it up. Make it your own. If you want it hotter, use more chiles. Too spicy? Use fewer. Chicken? Rattlesnake? Sure, why not. Vegetarian? What are you, a communist?
By the way, devote at least 4 hours to the construction of the chili. You don't have to stand over it the whole time but you do want to simmer it for a while. You can even make it the day before and re-heat it when you need to. It's even better that way. Time lets the flavors chilify.
This recipe makes a very large pot. It should feed about 20 schoolgirls or 5 lumberjacks.
Tim's Semi-Famous Chili
3 lbs ground beef or stew meat
2 lbs sausage
4-15oz cans tomato sauce
1-15 oz can petite diced tomato
1 cup boiling water with 1 beef bouillon cube
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (can you really have too much garlic?)
Approximately 2 tablespoons ground cumin
Approximately 2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 10 serrano chiles
5-15oz cans of pinto beans
1-15oz can of white beans
2-15oz cans black beans
1-15oz can kidney beans
Additional water as needed
1. Put tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in a large pot over medium/low heat.
2. Brown the meat in your cast iron skillet about 1 pound at a time. Drain most of the fat. Put the meat in the pot.
3. Dissolve the bouillon cube in 1 cup boiling water and add to pot.
5. Add the spices, including the cocoa, to the pot.
7. Chop the onion, cilantro and garlic and add to the pot.
8. Blacken the skins of the serrano chiles in a skillet.
9. Remove and discard the stems from the chiles.
10. Chop the chiles very fine. For heavens sake, do not touch your eyes. Add the chiles to the pot.
11. Allow the chili to simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you are using stew meat, allow more time to cook.
12. Watch a soccer game on TV.
13. About 1 hour before dinner time, drain and rinse the beans in a colander. Add the beans to the pot (I hope it's big enough).
14. Serve when the chili is nice and hot. Garnish the chili however you like - shredded cheese, onions, or sour cream. I eat it straight up. Corn bread goes very nicely with your chili.