Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shenanigans with Chili

So, it has been a while. A lot longer than I had intended between posts. It was a little of lack of inspiration. A lot of having my attention on other projections on-line. And a whole lot of overtime at work. But, for now, things appear to be slowing back down to normal.

My parents have announced that we will be taking a trip to Walt Disney World in October. That's right. Food and Wine Festival. I know, I'm excited too. In effort to get back in to the swing of things and get pumped for the upcoming trip (yes, I am aware that it is still over nine months away) I have decided to get back on track and continue my journey through the Disney cookbooks. I made beer cheese soup about a week ago (I'm not saying it helped the Packers beat the Cowboys, but I'm just saying the soup had just finished when the game winning field goal was made...) But, I've already covered that here. So, its still football season and while it's not to terribly cold out winter is still here. What is better than chili in winter? Just about nothing.

I found the recipe for Walt Disney's personal chili in on of my books. So, I set about planing the meal. What is funny is I wanted to do everything according the the recipe since I knew I would be writing a blog about it, but nothing seemed to go my way no matter what I did.

I had read the ingredient list and directions. I was prepped to make the chili in the middle of the work week. It would be perfect for dinner and have tons of leftovers. But, apparently I hadn't read the instructions as carefully as I thought. The recipe clearly said to soak the beans overnight.Well I hadn't, so we had something else and then I planned to make it on another night. Well, then I read that the beans needed to simmer for two hours. I don't have that kind of time during the week. So, chili and cornbread would go great with the NFL playoff games on Sunday.

I soaked the beans overnight. There really wasn't a clear timeframe. In the morning I was surprised to find that the beans had nearly soaked up all the water. Following the directions I drained, rinsed, and put them in a pot with fresh water. Here is where things got a little weird. The recipe says to use a 2 quart sauce pan. I had to use a 5 quart dutch oven and still didn't have enough room. Granted I did use kidney beans, which the recipe does not call for, but I like them in my chili so I went with it. On the flip side the beans are supposed to sinner with chopped onions (2 whole white onions) for two hours. I somehow forgot to get onions so I didn't have them in the pot.

I ended up taking about a third of the beans out to use a different night. Waste not want not after all. I don't know how two pounds of pinto beans alone would fit in a 2 quart pot if 3 pounds of beans fills a 5 quart pot, but math was never my strong point...

The garlic with the ground beef and celery smelled absolutely amazing. I thought it couldn't get any better, but then I added the spices. I had been wrong. My boyfriend and I had to have a quick snack because the smell had our mouths watering and stomachs growling. I had the beans simmering and the meat mixture simmering at the same time. I figured it would be easier that way. I was surprised at how little of the spices the directions called for, but I figured it would turn out just fine.

By the time it simmering time was complete I realized that this recipe was not the kind of chili that I am used to. I wold totally put it on a hotdog, or a baked potato, or possibly some steamed rice. But I would not consider it to be a bowl of chili. There wasn't much liquid to it. It was simply beans, spices, and ground beef. So, after some quick collaboration with my boyfriend we decided to add a can of tomato paste, a can of tomato sauce, a little water, and more spices. A lot more.

We let our new concoction simmer for nearly a half hour so all the flavors could meld together. I was pleased with the final product. The beans were not as tender as I would have liked, but perhaps I had not cooked them enough before adding them. The original recipe said it would serve four people, they must have been four very hungry people. Before I made my additions I had enough in the pot for at least two dinners and lunch for my boyfriend and I. Now, I have enough chili in my fridge to feed us for an entire week. I must say that I am quite pleased as I really feel that we got a lot of bang for our buck on this recipe.
I prefer my chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and crackers. My boyfriend is not a fan of crackers in his chili.
In the end I am happy that I made this recipe. Have I made better chili before? Yes, yes I have. I didn't feel that the directions in the cook book were enough to go on. My boyfriend and I both interpreted them differently and overall I felt the chili was a little bland before I made my changes. But, keep in mind that I spent a good deal of time of my youth in Texas and good chili was not hard to find. Overall, I'd say it is worth trying but to keep in mind that you may need to adjust the recipe to better suite your own personal tastes.