STATE FAIR CHILI

A few years ago, I posted “Chili: My Top Five“. (April 4, 2007). A couple of years later, Carol found this chili recipe on the Food Network (or saw the show, or something), and made it for dinner. It incorporates pretty much everything a chili aficionado would hate: ground meat, lots of canned beans – 2 kinds, canned tomatoes and red and yellow bell pepper. I call it “state fair chili” because it’s just like my mother used to make for the Methodist Church booth at the Ohio State Fair. Not too soupy, not too spicy.

Carol made it pretty straight, with all the canned stuff, but I twist it a little. Still, it’s nothing like my top five, but a nice change of pace from time to time when you want a hearty meal.

Do you ever read the “Prep Time” and “Cook Time” in recipes… especially in Food Network recipes? I used to, but now I glance at it and then glance at the recipe. If the ingredient list is fairly long and the word “chopped” is used a lot, then it will probably take way longer than they say — unless, of course, you have a team of prep cooks. I don’t. So this one said:
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 min

Let’s see, we have some chopping to do:

6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

and we need to do some measuring:

3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prep Time: 15 minutes? In a pigs ass… It took me an hour — I really did time it. Now I may be a bit persnickety – I like to peel my bell peppers, for example, but still.

Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes? Closer. It took 30 min from bacon to bubbly (cook bacon, cook vegetables, brown meat, stir in beans and tomatoes and get bubbly). Then it says “simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then it says “best if you let it sit for an hour after cooking.” So where does that hour go? So I get 4 hours from start of prep to start of dinner. That’s OK… just tell me.

start off by cooking your bacon

start off by cooking your bacon

add your vegetables and spices and cook until softened

add your vegetables and spices and cook until softened

add your beef and brown, add your sausage and brown, stir into the vegetables

add your beef and brown, add your sausage and brown, stir into the vegetables

add your beans and stir in

add your beans and stir in

add your tomatoes, bring to bubbly and simmer

add your tomatoes, bring to bubbly and simmer

I cooked my chili in the afternoon, then re-heated for dinner (a massive amount of chili in a cast iron pot doesn’t cool very quickly).

c_chili_served

The chili turned out quite thick, making a pile of chili rather than a bowl of chili. Carol said I could have served it on a plate, recalling the first time I went to her house to meet her parents.

Carol is from Lancaster, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Columbus – home of Ohio State and my house on the west side of the city called “Hilltop.” We were on spring break or something, so I went to Carol’s on Friday afternoon, a lovely day. I was immediately exposed to the Hale dinner routine.

Just before 5pm, suppertime, Carol and her four siblings, her mother and I sat at the kitchen table. Precisely at 5, Carol’s father came through the back door, washed his hands and sat down at the table to eat. We were served chili that day — on a plate. I had never heard of such a thing before or since. As I recall, it was your traditional Ohio chili… so many new things were going on around me — meeting her family for the first time — that was the last thing I noticed, except that it was on a plate.

So here’s the recipe, with my cooking notes, you should try it for your next down-home meal. Just remember to leave enough time for prep.

Pat’s Famous Beef and Pork Chili
Recipe courtesy The Neelys, Food Network
Prep Time: 15 min [Actually 1 hour]
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 min [Actually 30 minutes plus 1 hour 30 minutes] plus resting if you want
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients

6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces [I used Fatted Calf thick sliced bacon]

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped [I used a green pepper – I prefer that]
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder {Rancho Gordo New Mexican]
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef [Used grass fed Dexter beef from Mariquita Farm]
1 pound ground pork [Used Golden Gate Meat mild Italian sausage]

1 cup beer (recommended: Budweiser)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed [Rancho Gordo Midnight beans made the day before]
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed [Used Iacopi Farms Prim Manteca beans made the day before]
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes [28 ounce can net weight = 24 fluid ounces]
1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice

Lime wedges, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Fritos, for garnish
Directions
In large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven [my white Le Creuset = 6 quarts], cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon is browned, add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, and smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender and seasonings are aromatic. [about 5 minutes]
Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once beef is broken up and beginning to brown, add the pork. Break up with wooden spoon like the beef, and brown, until no longer pink, roughly 4 minutes. Stir in the beer and beans. Toss together, then add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Best if you let it sit for an hour after cooking.
Transfer the chili to serving bowls and garnish with lime wedges, sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced scallions.

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3 thoughts on “STATE FAIR CHILI

  1. It will be a while before your suggested “cool evening” arrives in Mesa, AZ. We love chili. Jerry always wants a BIG pot and he will reheat it for days and days.

    I wonder how many chili recipes exist. Can you think of a popular main dish that may have more? Good trivia question.

    Like

  2. your Top-5 chili link is password protected. who do i need to kill for access? i will do it.

    Like

  3. The errant link has been fixed.

    Like

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