Time to get back to that. So many superb meals have passed through my kitchen in the last few years…most have been left unblogged, undocumented & forgotten. For some of them that may be for the best, but a lot of these meals should have been shared. So here we are again.
Where to begin? I guess with the now. Honestly, too much has occurred both personally and professionally over the past few years for me to try to recap it all here and now. Some good, some bad, some great, some sad…so I’ll just pick up with the glorious present.
I’m working on getting past my obsession with overly complicated meals, trying to do things a little more simply. Not that I’m abandoning the ridiculous feasts, I’m just realizing that I can cook a whole lot more really great stuff if I just simplify some of it. In preparation for the super bowl on Sunday, I made a batch of chili on Saturday without spending 3 days preparing for it. I stuck to the true spirit of the dish this time.
A good friend of mine, who had the misfortune of leaving his freezer door ajar overnight, bestowed upon me a large chuck roast on Friday. I thought to myself, “questionable chunk of meat? Hmmm…chili!!”
I trimmed it up, got rid of the more questionable parts, and cut it into bite-size chunks. After browning those in a pan with some oil and salt, working in batches and transferring the browned ones to a pot, I sautéed a medium-sized diced red onion in the leftover “meaty-ness”… dumped that in the pot, deglazed the whole thing with a bottle of decent craft beer, then added a can of tomatillos (run through the blender first), a few cans of crushed tomato and some Mexican spice rub that had been given to me by a friends parents down the street. Salt, pepper, chipotle ketchup, smoked paprika, coriander, masa harina and toasted cumin went in, then I let it simmer for a little while.
After some time, it became apparent that the chili needed more veggies in it, so I started digging in the fridge. I found a little container of salsa that someone had brought the night before, along with half a can of chipotle en adobo, so in it went along with some fresh yellow corn. It was still lacking though. Around the same time, I received a fortuitous phone call from someone on their way over to the house, and I asked them to pick me up another jar of salsa, some kidney beans and a six-pack of some decent beer (to drink of course).
OK, I know how a lot of people feel about beans when it comes to chili…some love it, some hate it. Honestly, I could care less. I make chili with them, without them, whatever…it just depends on my mood and the ingredients on hand.
**End of side note**
Once my buddy arrived, I threw in the beans and salsa and let it simmer a little longer. We made some jalapeño/cheddar cornbread muffins and grated up some sharp cheddar cheese, and I was pleasantly surprised! Not quite the same flavor impact of most of the chilli I’ve made, but the ratio of effort : flavor was remarkable. I think that there may be something to the “lazy chili”. . .but I do advise using caution when selecting the meat itself. That can still make or break any pot of chili, no matter how lazy you feel.
Well…it feels good to get the old ball rolling again. I’ll try to keep you all posted more this time around…really. Stop looking at me like that.
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