Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's Time For Chili!

I'm ready for chili.
This is not just any chili.  This is chili with a spin on it.
It's got all sorts of stuff in it and it's got beans in it.  That fact alone could raise the hackles on some of you and might seem like heresy, but this is my chili and my blog, so I can put in what I want.

I enjoyed my Saturday afternoon putting this recipe together.  I was relaxed and having fun and looking forward to eating something special I'd made for my family.  One thing I had to take into consideration is that one out of the three of us is a vegetarian.  Mr. Hawthorne is omnivorous and leans more towards the plant side than towards the meat side and Rosie, if she's hungry enough, will eat a vegetarian.

The chili I'm making today consists of four parts which I kept separate, due to meat not touching vegetable nor cutlery - caveats from a certain diner.  
First, I made black beans and yellow rice.
Second, I made caramelized diced sweet potatoes and onions.
Third, I made the sauce.

Then I called down my little vegetarian/occasionally pescatarian to eat.  I made an edible bowl for him, of course.  I placed a teaspoon of unsalted non-butter in a tortilla bowl mold, let it melt in a 325° oven, then pressed a tortilla in the melted non-butter on both sides, brushing the non-butter all over the tortilla  Placed back into oven and baked until lightly brown and crisp.

Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne are holding out for the meat!

Fourth, I'm making cooking both bacon and ground pork, for the carnivore in us.

 I found a box of Goya arroz amarillo in my vast, expansive walk-in pantry cluttered, stuffed-to-the-gills hall closet which spits numerous things out whenever you open it. I barely simmered the arroz in salted water, covered, until the water was absorbed, then tossed in some Plugra unsalted butter.  It was quite nice as is, then I remembered I had some black beans in the fridge I'd cooked the night before.  I tossed the cold black beans in with the hot rice and had a bite.  And another bite.  And another bite.  That hot/cold sensation along with the textures of the al dente beans and the chewiness of the rice made my tongue extremely happy. Seriously happy.  You must try this.  Another "Trust Rosie" moment.  And you know I've never let you down.
 I could stop right here and eat this whole pot of yellow rice and black beans, but I practiced restraint and self-control, although I did manage to scoop up some with a few Tostitos.

Next I threw some diced sweet potatoes along with some chopped onion into a pan with a little melted butter.

Sprinkle some salt and sugar over the potatoes and onions.

Cook for a few minutes - about 5 - until sweet potatoes are tender.
Sweet potatoes cook in no time - not like a regular 'tater.
Scrape up the goody bits from the bottoms.  That's the good part!

The sugar helps to caramelize the sweet potatoes and onions.
And that is ALL FLAVOR, my friends.
Set aside and start on the sauce.

Chili Sauce
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
unsalted butter for sautéing
pinch kosher salt and sugar
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB molasses
1 TB cumin
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
3 TB chili powder
1 can corn with juice

Sauté pepper and onion in butter with salt and sugar about 2 minutes.  Add in can of tomatoes with green chilies.  Add water to can, swirling, and return extra sauce to the pan.  Stir in chicken stock, tomato paste, molasses, cumin, chipotle chili powder, chili powder, and corn and juice.
Simmer about 20 minutes.  Taste test.  Adjust seasoning if you think necessary.

Rosie Hint #458:  Go easy on the chipotle chili powder until you're sure about it.  And remember, flavors will intensify the more you cook.  If you want a thicker sauce, cook longer, but hold back on some quantity of seasonings until the end.  As I said, taste test.

The sauce was all throw and go with me.
Just follow the pictures until we get to the carne part.


Cover ajar and let simmer.  Barely.

Stir occasionally to scrape up the goodie bits which is flavor.

AHH.......    The CARNE!

1 pound ground pork
4 bacon slices, chopped

I sautéed the bacon about half-way through, then threw in the sausage,
breaking it all up, disposing of any grease, until nicely browned.  Cover and set aside.

If it were just me, I'd go ahead and throw the meat in with the sauce, but NOOOO.
We have a vegetarian, so it's separate.

My bowl has black beans and yellow rice, caramelized sweet potatoes and onions, pork and bacon, red chile sauce, along with cilantro, lime, and crème fraîche.

For the crème fraîche:
1 cup milk (I used skim, since that's what I had.)
1 TB buttermilk
1 TB lime juice or lemon juice (I prefer lime.)
Mix all together, cover with a paper towel, and leave at room temperature overnight.
Next morning, stir (It will be thick.), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Use like sour cream.

You could serve these in little tortilla cups as appetizers if you like.

Sprinkle fresh cilantro from the garden around.

My favorite is serving this in a seasoned tortilla bowl.
Brush tortilla with melted butter with different seasonings mixed in -
cumin, oregano, cayenne to name a few.
Bake the tortilla bowls until crisp and lightly browned.

Serve on fire!

Or in front of a fireplace on a cold night.


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