January 27, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.

Chili: Some like it hotter

Chili: Some like it hotter
Chili: Some like it hotter

Once again, Christopher Columbus has proven that he knew a good thing when he saw it. Or was it the American Indians who knew? When Columbus landed in the New World, he found that the Indians grew a very hot red, green and yellow plant that used the fruit (known as chilies) as a seasoning. In the early 1500's the fiery peppers were taken to Spain, where they were called "aji". A German botanist, who believed Columbus landed in India, renamed them Calcutta peppers, although they were not true peppers. Americans still call the plant the chili pepper, which brings me to recipes using chili peppers and chili powder.

I'll start with...

BLACK BEAN CHILI

1 T. canola or olive oil

2 lbs. boneless chuck beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 c. chopped onions

1-15 oz. can beef broth

1 c. beer or water

1-6 oz. can tomato paste

1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes

2-3 T. chili powder

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. oregano leaves

1/2 t. cumin

1/2 t. salt

2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat; add beef and brown. Drain. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Stir in rest of ingredients except beans. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Add beans in the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Makes about 7 cups.

+++++

And chili using the crock pot

ITALIAN-STYLE CHICKEN CHILI

1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage, mild or spicy

1 t. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

2-15 oz. cans (or 1-28 oz.) crushed (not pureed) tomatoes

2-15 oz. cans (or 1-28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

1-15 oz. can white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 c. diced onion

1 small sweet red pepper, diced

1/2 c. dry red wine or chicken broth

2 T. chili powder, or to taste

2 t. oregano leaves

2 t. minced garlic

1 t. thyme leaves

1 medium zucchini, diced, if available

1-4 oz. can mushrooms, drained

1/4 c. minced fresh parsley

Shredded Italian cheese blend, optional

In a large skillet, cook sausage in oil over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. crock pot. Stir in next 12 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Stir in zucchini and mushrooms. Cover and cook on high 45 minutes or until veggies are tender. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with cheese if you wish.

Makes 8 servings.

+++++

And another crockpot recipe.

SAUSAGE 'N BEEF CHILI

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 lb. lean ground beef

1-15 oz. can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

1-15 oz. can chili beans

2-15 oz. cans no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained

1-8 oz. can no-salt added tomato sauce

2 medium onions, diced

1 medium green pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. chili powder, or to taste

2 t. salt-free seasoning blend

1/2 to 3/4 t. cumin

1/2 t. pepper

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage and beef. Transfer to a crock pot. Add next 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours. Garnish individual servings with cheese.

Makes 10 servings.

You may use regular diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in place of no-salt added if you wish. The no-salt added is good to use if you or someone else is on a low-salt diet.

+++++

This is a good recipe for the kids...not a lot of chili powder in it.

CHILI CHEESE DOG

CASSEROLE

1 pkg. (8-1/2 oz.) corn bread/muffin mix, prepared according to pkg. directions

1/2 c. diced green pepper

1/2 c. onion

1/2 c. sliced celery

1 T. olive or canola oil

1-1 lb. pkg. hot dogs, halved lengthwise and cut into bite-size pieces

1-15 oz. can mild chili with beans

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. chili powder

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Spread half the batter in a greased 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. In a large skillet, saute next 3 ingredients in oil until crisp-tender. Stir in hot dogs; saute 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in next 4 ingredients; heat through. Stir in 3/4 c. cheese. Spoon over prepared corn bread. Carefully spread rest of batter onto hot dog mixture. Sprinkle with rest of cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: You might want to use just 1/4 t. garlic powder if you're not big on garlic.

I have some toppings you might like to serve with your chili: Cheese, crackers (fish crackers or crushed saltines or butter crackers), Tabasco sauce, chopped red, white or green onions, sour cream, corn chips, and chopped Jalapeno peppers.

I'm not sure if any of these chili recipes could take 1st place in the annual Celebration of the Lakes chili making contest, but maybe 3rd! Good luck and enjoy your weekend celebrating our winter festival.

TFD: Those who "cook up" stories will often find themselves in hot water!

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