Chili is pretty awesome. Here’s a fine recipe.

When I turned 18, I started working at this restaurant near my hometown.  Nearly six years and two restaurant jobs later, I’m still in the food service business.  Being a cook is pretty decent work, to be honest.  Most kitchens are comprised of entirely males, usually in their late teens to early twenties, so it’s easy to get along with everyone.  Cooks also tend to be drama-free individuals as we tend to just take things as it comes.  Every place I’ve worked features a kitchen staff filled with intelligent dudes.  Keep that in mind next time you’re at a restaurant and complain about “those young punks in the back making a ruckus.”  Most of those “young punks” either have college degrees or are seeking degrees, and our ridiculous, random, and sexy antics are the only way to keep our minds sane in the hurricane of a kitchen as well as the soul-crushing reality of working as a cook.  I guess it’s not so great after all.

You would think after cooking for 25-30 hours a week the last six years I would be kind of jaded when it comes to food preparation in my home.  I respectfully disagree with your theoretical assertion.  On the contrary, I love cooking, and consider it a minor hobby.

That being said, I think I have some food items I’m pretty alright at preparing.  The problem is these dishes are tremendously simple, so perhaps I’m overstating my culinary prowess.  But whatever, I’m the one writing, nerds.

I’m sorry I got so defensive.  To make it up, here is a recipe for chili I came up with:

Chill by Dan

Things you will need:

  • A crockpot or slow-cooker (cooking in a pot on medium-low heat works just fine as well)
  • Ground beef, like a pound or 2.  Probably two.

Allow me to briefly break from this list to point out I rarely measure ingredients, so just bear with me.

  • one fresh jalapeño pepper (canned works too, but I prefer fresh)
  • one fresh Habanero pepper
  • whole onion
  • whole tomato
  • can of crushed whole tomatoes
  • can of tomato paste
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • minced garlic
  • tabasco sauce
  • brown sugar
  • kidney beans

1.  First, that ground beef I was talking about earlier, get that into a glass bowl.  Season the beef with salt, pepper, and add some minced garlic in there as well.

2.  After the meat is seasoned, this step is optional, I guess, but I feel doing it this way works better.  Anyway, on a cutting board (again to pause briefly, I recommend always keeping a separate cutting board for meat and vegetables.  It aids in preventing cross-contamination) dice that tomato, onion, jalapeño, and Habanero pepper.  Combined diced ingredients in a separate bowl and add a little oil.  *WARNING* Wash your hands AS SOON AS you are done cutting the Habanero.  These are extremely hot, and if you touch ANYWHERE else on your body with contaminated hands it WILL burn you.  And it hurts.  A lot.

3.  Take this time to get the seasoned beef into the crockpot.  Add in the diced veggies and season everything with chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Add another dash of minced garlic for good measure.  Add in the cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, and then about a half-cup of water.  Season with a little more chili powder and then add as much tabasco as desired.

4.  If you like spicy chili, you are now down.  However, adding a cup of brown sugar to the crock pot will kill some of the heat, allowing the natural flavors of the peppers to come out, as well as giving the chili a more complex flavor.  The end product will almost be a sweet and spicy mixture, as the initial sweetness in the first bite with the sugar will be offset by just a little bite of spiciness from the peppers.

5.  Set the crock, slow cooker, or pot to cook for like 4-6 hours or so.  About halfway through, go ahead and add the can of beans.

Bam, I just turned you into a bona-fide chili wizard.  Go forth and impress everyone you know with this awesome chili.  Since I don’t measure anything, it’s likely this recipe has some margin for error, but since I’m an glass-type-full type of person, I look at this lack of specificity as a calling card to improve upon the existing recipe.  So feel free to mess around with this or improve it however you see fit.

And remember, chili is basically just scrambled meatballs, so it’s pretty hard to screw up.


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