It’s starting to get overcast, windy, and ready to rain in Northern California. Chili season has officially begun. My wife absolutely loves chili. She even orders it as a meal at restaurants on occasion. It was something I could never understand. In fact, I used to mock her about it…until she forced me to go to a Chili Cook-off. After trying several styles of Chili I realized that there is a chili for everyone’s taste. My favorite style consists of beef, anaheim peppers, onions, a few beans, hot peppers, and of course the secret spices. My thanks goes out to a guy named Gene who runs a transmission shop and added one more thing to my life that I enjoy…even if my wife now has one more thing with which to mock me with “I was right and you were wrong”.
My mother (who was a fantastic cook…and I’m not just say it because she’s my mom), taught me that cooking is not about recipes. Cooking is actually about ratios. I’ve come to learn that good cooking is much like good investing. Use few enough ingredients that the flavors don’t compete and keep them in their proper ratio to each other. Too many ingredients will destroy food and portfolios alike.
To make a family sized pot of chili here’s the basics. I’ll leave it to you to experiment with your special set of secret ingredients.
3 lbs. of beef, cubed
–I just cut up the cheapest roast I can find. I’ve also used rabbit, pork, chicken, and sausage with acceptable results.
1 1/2 cup red beans, washed and soaked over night
3 onions, chopped
10 anaheim peppers, chopped with seeds
2 hot peppers, minced with seeds (hot without overwhelming the flavor, use 1 pepper for a more mild flavor)
–I use ripe red fresno peppers as they’re similar in heat to jalapenos but have a better flavor
2 cans beef broth
4 cups tomato juice (or V8 to make it a bit sweeter)
Next add your list of secret spices and simmer in a covered pot for 2.5 hours (or until meat is tender)