Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chili that knows how to Party.

When Bill moved in with us in May, one of the first things he asked me was, "Mom, do you still make that great Chili? You mean the one with the sirloin beef cubes; yeppers and better than ever, I told him. But the summer time heat was moving in, and making chili was not on my list of things to do for the season.

That was until this past weekend when I was in the mood for chili; roast beef had been on sale at City Market and I got to working on cutting it up into pieces for the crock pot. The only problem, I didn't want to use as many beans as I normally do, and didn't want it to be too monotone in coloring. I was in a great, happy mood and wanted colorful food to go with the mood. I cut back on the beans and added bright colors from whole kernel corn, and red and green bell peppers.

Another change I made was to use medium heat chile peppers, but mild New Mexico chili powder. I wanted the heat to come from the peppers themselves, but the rich smokiness of the chili powder. This combo made my mouth hot, but not burn; and the flavors of the ingredients came through. See, one thing I don't believe in is making your food burn your mouth to the point where you cannot taste anything. Might as well just eat raw habanero or ghost chiles and get it over with. Of course, you can adjust the type of chile peppers and chili powder you use when making this recipe because it is what makes you happy that matters the most.

I served Cornbread with the chili, but instead of the conventional oven method, I baked it in a cast iron skillet. The adjustments for this are: preheat oven to 425F, but place the skillet (which should already have been preseasoned)in the oven at the start of the preheating. When ready, carefully take out the skillet and coat the bottom and sides with a generous amount of butter. Pour in the batter (don't worry about the butter you see coming up the sides of the batter) and bake for 20 minutes. Cut into eight wedges and serve with the chili.

...and here's the recipe for Fiesta Chili.

Fiesta Chili


2 ½ lbs roast beef cut into ½ inch pieces; trim off fat
½ cup flour
1 cup beef stock
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 cup diced mixture of red and green bell peppers
½ cup diced chile peppers (medium heat)
2 ½ cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced onions
4 Tbsp New Mexico chili powder (mild heat)
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cans (15 oz) black beans; drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 oz) pinto beans; drained and rinsed

Note: if using dried beans instead, soak overnight in salted water and place into crock pot with remaining ingredients for the total 7 hour cooking time.


Set 6 quart crock pot on low. Toss beef pieces with flour; place into crock pot and pour beef stock over. Mix together remaining ingredients, except the beans (see Note), and spread evenly into crock pot. Cover and let cook for 4 hours; add beans to crock pot, mix thoroughly, cover and let cook another 4 hours.

Serve with sour cream, shredded Mexican Mix cheese and cornbread.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour