The items I initially stopped in for should have fit into one of those little plastic baskets the store provides.
Unfortunately, I had already grabbed one of the big, new shopping carts.
Even more unfortunate, I had to stop in the meat department.
As y'all are well aware of by now, I have a new smoker.
I tried not to look over at the pork shoulders and turkey breasts as I was headed for the beef chuck roasts.
Matter of fact, I did really well keeping my focus squarely on the case holding the various cuts of beef. After all, all I needed from the meat department was two chuck roasts to make a big pot of chili with.
I was doing so well. Then a couple went past Christine, myself, and our shopping cart. A nice pork shoulder was sitting proudly in the baby seat of their cart.
I spun around and walked over to the pork section. One pork shoulder later I was on my way to the poultry section. Fortunately there were no fresh turkey breasts. Unfortunately I asked a meat department associate if they had any. She guided me to the frozen meat section.
One ten pound turkey breast later we were on our way to the rest of the store.
A full blown shopping trip had broken out.
Five items that should have cost around $30.00 became a shopping cart full of stuff totaling just under $195.00.
A blog featuring the smoked shoulder and smoked turkey breast will be in another post soon.
However, today's blog features chili.
Last time I made chili, I did my dad's version. My dad made excellent chili. This time I wanted something different.
Dad's chili always started with ground chuck.
Mine starts with me hand trimming two large chuck roasts cut into cubes. In this case each roast weighed just about 2.75 pounds each. After trimming, the yield was just about 5 pounds of lean beef.
I looked at the pile of beef cubes. This was going to require some of my larger cookware.
I broke out my 15 quart pot. It's my favorite for making chili, stews, and gumbo. It has a nice heavy 18/10 stainless steel bottom, a "bucket" handle, and a side handle. It's designed for use on an induction stove as a pot to process jarred foods, but cooks really well on any stove.
It cost me $10.00 for it and a matching lid in 1995 at a Williams-Sonoma outlet in East Memphis.
I'm pretty sure I've got my money's worth out of it.
Anyway, I browned the chuck cubes in two batches.
Then I chopped up two medium onions and four cloves of garlic. The onions and garlic were sauteed until translucent and covered with 8 quarts of cold water. Cold water aids in "deglazing" the pan, that is, get the crusty parts of seared meat off the bottom of the pot.
After the liquid/onions/garlic reaches a simmer, I returned the meat to the pot.
After the pot returned to a simmer, I added a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes and a 6 ounce can of tomato paste.
I let it simmer for a bit and then added three tablespoons of chili powder, one tablespoon of ground cumin seed, and two double cans of light kidney beans. The kidney beans HAVE to be drained and rinsed. If you don't, there's a high probability that the bottom of your pot will scorch due to the starch in the bean packing liquid.
Two hours later.........
Four hours later (with 1.5 tablespoons more of chili powder and 1 tablespoon more ground cumin)....
Six hours later.........DONE!
By this time it was 1:30 am. Not that it mattered. Christine and I had an early dinner. She had a class to attend last night.
Besides, as we all know, chili gets better after it sits for a while.
The really nice thing is that tonight's dinner is all set to go.
Now then, it's time for me to wash my cooking gear and kick back.
Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, ret.