Tonight’s adventures in cooking were really just a modification of different recipes I’ve used and the application of new techniques that I have developed while practicing my cooking. I have to admit, I like making sure that dinner is on the table when Sean gets home. I like it a lot.
I spent at least an hour and a half looking for a descent chili recipe that had just the amount of labor intensity that I could bare. Seriously, long recipes turned me off. I was also looking for a recipe that had the ingredients that I had on hand, because I really did not want to have to go back out to Wholefoods for the second time today. Instead of using a whole recipe, I threw some together to create my own recipe. Sean’s mom, Susan, stopped by and she thought it was great. Sean definitely agreed as well. I had some issues with the flavor palette, but you know, whatever.
This was a really flavorful chili because of the cayenne pepper and the broth. Sean made the broth Saturday night from beef bones, short ribs, a myriad of whole spices (clove, all spice, star annis, cumin, etc) and a few celery and carrots. The bones, meat, spices and vegetables were strained after the broth was cooked and the additional fat was removed after the broth was chilled. The broth definitely added to the flavor combination.
Another addition was the cayenne pepper. I didn’t dare use 3 tablespoons of that. That is just asking for trouble. I will pick up chili powder before I try again.
Also, the sherry may have added to the flavors as well. There was a very subtle sweetness to the base of the sauce that came from the sherry. I can’t complain. It wasn’t too bad. This is the first chili I’ve ever made that actually came out looking like recognizable chili. It was red, it was thick, and it was meaty.
In addition to the chili I made biscuits using a standard biscuit recipe found in the Kitchenaid Cookbook that came with my mixer. Since I don’t have a large food processor I cut in the shortening and butter into the flour in two batches. Also, when it came time to shaping the biscuits, I didn’t have a biscuit tin so I simply cut them into wedges. They came out picture perfect! Literally, picture perfect. When I bit into them, they were fluffy and soft, but had an after taste that was a bit dusty and strong. It turns out that baking powder is different from baking soda. I used baking soda, which is probably why they looked so great, but definitely didn’t taste 100% correct. Sean had two, Susan and I had one, and I tossed the rest. Que sara. Next time will be better. I’ll pick up baking powder from the store and keep the baking soda on hand. some recipes call for one or the other, some recipes call for both.
Next adventure: Blondies. You know, the chocolate chip cookie BAR. I know how to make blondies….what I want to make is double chocolate chip blondies with Ghiradelli’s baking chocolate. I picked some up at Whole Foods today. Tomorrow night we are having a barbecue for friends and they will get to test them out. I can only bake for others. If I bake for myself I’ll gain a million pounds. I’ll keep you posted.
Here is my recipe:
- 1.5- 2 pounds of meat (short ribs, flank steak, stew meat, whatever), cubed
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can black beans
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup of sherry
- 1.5 tbsp cayenne pepper (I didn’t have chili powder or I would have used 3 tbsp chili powder instead)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Warm the dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Add cubed meat and cook until pieces are seared brown, then remove from the pot.
Add the onion, garlic, seasoning to the dutch oven and cook on medium heat until the onions are soft. Add the sherry and the tomato paste and cook until brick red and syrupy (about a minute).
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth. Bring to a boil and then add the meat (including any juices that accumulated while it sat)and the beans. Cook on low for two hours, stirring occasionally. Add cornstarch mixture (1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with one tbsp water) to thicken the sauce if it is too soupy.