Who does not like a good bowl of chili? I don’t know if I should put a question mark after that or an exclamation, what is it? I do not like to do both but either would fit there.
I make a great pot of chili. While I am supposedly disqualified as a chili maker because the Wisconsin Chili Cook may sound as strange to some as The Wisconsin Skier, I have it down!
My key ingredients are:
- Tomato sauce
- Kidney beans
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- brown coriander
- chili (as in chili peppers) powder
I do not provide measurements as you should season to taste, but as you may be able to tell, the main spice I use is the cumin.
- Dice up some onion & celery (with leaves) and set aside.
- Take the above noted spices and place your desired amounts into a small bowl
- Open up the beans
- Chop up some more onion and celery
- Get the hamburger ready
- Get your tomato sauce ready
- Now, get out a big pot, place on stove, pour in about one-two tablespoons of oil (preferably olive oil), and turn on the heat
- Now, when the oil is hot, toss in the onion & celery mix and the spice mix 1 and saute
- When the onions, celery, and spices are sautéed toss in the meat (I often may add chopped pork loin pieces) and brown. Use a stainless steel spatula to mince the hamburger up.
- Once the meat is browned add the rest of the ingredients: tomato sauce, beans, onion, and celery, and more of the prescribed spices and simmer.
Serve the chili as a soup (at least as first), sometimes I chop fresh onions add shredded cheddar cheese (not pre-shredded but fresh shredded), tortilla chips, and maybe sour cream. Sometimes I eat it all by itself, and today I used it to make a chili dog. Though the hot-dogs I used were too good for making chili dogs.
Chili is not too difficult to make and in about one hour you can have a hot pot of goodness on the stove.
Chili is a dish that sets off a lot of arguments and a lot of people will argue strenuously for or against ingredients or particular formulations. Soupy vs. thick is a controversy I have no need to participate in and have a good way to have both. Initially, my chili is soupy, but when having some chili I always reheat the whole pot and with the cover off. Guess what happens? As time goes by the chili thickens up and by the last bowl I am eating my chili on a plate. I would say that last serving is the best one (this does not apply just to chili but any sort of soup or boiled dinner). You can not get to that tasty thick bowl without the initial soupy phase.
Some people cringe at the kidney beans, the celery, and the onions. Kidney beans and onions are staples of TexMex cooking so why leave it out here? Celery is one ingredient I can understand some people objecting over. Celery is one ingredient that matches so perfectly with the rest of the ingredients, how can you even think of making such a dish without celery?
Chili — No Extra Salt but Loads of Cumin!
I just realized, not a grain of salt in the recipe above, it does not need extra salt as the tomato sauce has a bit and there is a lot of good spice in it, so there is no need for salt. This brings us to the most important ingredient of chili: CUMIN. In fact, I have seen some “old” chili recipes calling for just meat and cumin. Go to the store and buy pre-made chili powder and the key ingredient is cumin powder. Chili without cumin powder is a tomato soup variant!
A lot of my friends make chili that do not deserve to be called chili. It is soupy without a chance of becoming thick and they will add green beans, corn, pasta, and other ingredients. That could be okay, but the spice packages in those so-called “chilis” yield no more than tomato soup variants. Nothing wrong with a tomato soup variant, but let us all practice truth in naming!