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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fringeville Edition #48, December 17 2011

Chili Time!

There are so many subjects I could blog about today…

Corruption:  Nope. Bunch o’folks doing that already.
Politics: Ditto
The Penn State Fiasco: Double Ditto
The Economy:  Too depressing…
Sex: Sorry, I only write about things I still remember how to do

So, instead, I’m surrendering today’s blog to someone who calls himself “Lazy Man.


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Welcome, readers. Today’s topic is chili. Specifically my own Sumbitch That’s Good: Lazy Man’s Chili

I’m sharing the recipe with you. There’s some work involved, despite the recipe name, but it’s worth every spoonful.

Now, I’ve read enough recipes to know I have to start with ingredients. This ultimately involves a ‘trip to the store.’ Married men know that phrase, used freely by our wives, is a code for ‘a brief journey into the bowels of hell.’

A trip to any store that doesn’t sell power tools is about as much fun as a root canal for most men. If the wives go with us, it becomes a form of torture that should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

When men shop alone, we’re in and out. It’s a combat mission. Sure, we come home with the wrong stuff, but dammit we’re done, and here’s the buttermilk you didn’t ask for, and I’m sure the kids will learn to love limburger cheese.

There is a bright side to going to the store for the chili fixings. You can pick up some adult beverages (for the recipe, of course). We’ll start the ingredients off with those:

Beer. (Good stuff. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. You’re going to need ½ can. You won’t need this until it’s time to cook the meat, so if you already popped one open, just drink the damned thing with my apologies.)

1 cup of sherry, divided. (This means you put half in one glass, half in another. Why sherry? Beats the hell out of me. It’s what was on the door of the fridge when I made this the first time and it worked out just fine).

1 tablespoon meat tenderizer

8oz dried kidney beans. (That’s half a small bag. I used a whole 16 ounce bag, and that’s a helluva lot of beans. I loved them. The rest of the family told me to cut back next time. They didn’t walk behind me for a couple of days, either. And I slept on the couch until Thursday).

1 pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into small cubes, no bigger than your fingernail. If you’re not cussing and saying, “…this will take forever” then the cubes are too big and they’ll cook up tough. (I recommend passing time while you cube the beef by swigging down a can of beer.)

1½ pounds of 80/20 ground beef.

1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided. (Yeah that divided thing again. And it’s a PIA to mince the stuff. You know what works just as well? “Spice World” makes a squeezable container of minced garlic. Just squeeze a shot when you need it. If it’s a little more than what you need, so what. You can’t have too much garlic, in my opinion though the missus disagrees.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

One stalk of celery, chopped very small. (Hints: One STALK not one bunch. Trim each end off so you’ve got the best of it work with. If you’re a cheap S.O.B go to a wing joint for lunch and pocket the celery other folks leave on the table. A half-dozen pieces will do the trick.)

One medium onion. Peel the sumbitch and chop the bejesus out of that, too.

Two tomatillos, peeled and diced. (These puppies look like little green tomatoes, and they’re covered with a husk. If you can’t find them, do without. Some stores don’t know what they are. If you ask for tomatillos and they tell you it’s next to the foot powder, get the hell out there.)

1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, depending on how much fire you want in your chili. (It’s the pulp and seeds that give these their punch. I clean all of these out of mine because the missus doesn’t like nuclear chili. And wear rubber gloves when you cut jalapenos. Why? If you don’t and you touch your eye later, even if you’ve washed your hands, you’re doing a hot-pepper tango to your sink to flush your eye with water.)

4-5 tablespoons of chili seasoning. (I used a chili mix by Tempo. It’s a 2-ounce envelope. Worked just dandy.)

One 28oz can of choice diced tomatoes

One 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (This can is optional. If you’re not crazy about tomatoes, skip this one.)

Two 10oz cans of Rotel Mild Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies. (This is good stuff. Trust me on that)

One 6oz can of tomato paste.

Beantime (Prep the beans ahead of time…see below)

The beans are where you start.

Step One: Sort’em. Basically, you pick through the sumbitches looking for non-bean foreign objects. Might be a twig. Maybe a bit of dirt. Maybe it’s something you can’t and don’t want to identify.

Step Two: Rinse’em. Put’em in a colander. Rinse them. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Step Three: Soak’em. Put the beans in a big-ass pot. Cover them with about 3 inches of water and walk away for four hours (or leave them out to soak overnight). Have a beer, you’ve earned it.

Step Four: Drain’em & Rinse’em.  Back in the colander for these bad boys. Rinse them again.

Step Five: Cook’em. Put the beans back in the pot and cover them with water again. Heat at medium until the beans are almost ready to boil, and turn the heat down to where they barely simmer. Walk away for a 1½ - 2 hours. (This is a good time to catch a game on TV and grab another beer.)

Step Six: Drain’em & Rinse’em one last time.  One last time in the colander. Rinse them under cold water and set aside until needed. Clean and dry your pot… you’ going to need it for the chili!

Chili Time

You’ve been waiting for this! Celebrate with a beer and then you’re ready to roll!

Put the cubed short ribs, ½ tablespoon of minced garlic, the meat tenderizer, ½ a can of beer and ½ cup of sherry in a bowl and mix it together well. Let it marinate for 30-60 minutes. (You can polish off the other half can of beer while catching an episode of Gilligan’s Island. How ‘bout that Ginger? Nearly fifty years, and that’s still a lovely bunch of coconuts!)

Drain the liquid from the short ribs.

Put the vegetable oil, onion and celery in your pot and cook over medium-high heat until they soften up. Add the cubed short ribs. Cook until no longer pink on outside, then remove the meat and set aside. (Don’t worry about the onion or celery you leave behind. It will be fine and it won’t be lonely for long.)

Without adding more oil, put the ground beef in the pot and cook until browned. Be sure to break up any big chunks of ground beef. Skim off any fat and discard or put in the dog’s dish. Dogs will lap up anything and Rover will love you for it. (Just don’t let the missus catch you doing this.) Add the chopped tomatillos, if you found them, and the chopped jalepenos. Give it a good stirring.

Add the cubed beef back to the pot. Stir in the big 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1/3 of the chili seasoning.

Add half the cooked beans. Stir.

Add the tomato paste, the other ½ cup of sherry, another 1/3 of the chili seasoning and stir. If it looks dry, add a half-can of beer. Drink the other half. NEVER THROW AWAY UNUSED BEER.

Add the rest of the beans, the last of the chili seasoning, all the other canned tomatoes. Stir.

Reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and go watch an hour of Star Trek: Voyager, preferably one featuring Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine. Talk about twin moons! If the missus walks in, switch to the Weather Channel before she gets wise.

If you have a box of Jiffy cornbread mix stashed in your cupboard, you can make some cornbread on the cheap while you wait for the chili. Directions are on the box. If you can read this recipe, you can read that, too. I’m not doing all the work for you.

After an hour, the chili should be ready. Get a bowl. Dig in. You should still have a beer or two left… pop a can and enjoy!

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