Monday, September 13, 2010

Fresh Chili

Do you cook chili at home?
I've been making some form of home-cooked chili since I was about 16. I admit it involved canned beans, canned tomatoes, and thawed hamburger meat. It was a great platform for ad libbing in the kitchen, though. I learned how to season the mess just the way I liked it, not by what Irma Rombauer said.
Fortunately, I like chili. Still do. Still cooking it.
But now, because I'm a Boomer Foodie Snob, I like to use better ingredients.
I've used cooked dried beans for decades, and I don't think there's been canned tomatoes in the house for... decades. Better yet, I've upgraded the meat and the seasonings. You know those hokey tins of "chili powder" that actually contain salt, cumin, garlic powder, etc? Those are banished. The meat has mostly been a minced or Cuisinarted thwack of undistinguished stew beef. Boy, I needed improvement there.
So the other day, Cranky was pestering the vendor at Prather for some chuck or shoulder or something. When suddenly he noticed on the chalk board that there were beef short ribs for sale. That's what he bought instead.
I've never cooked beef short ribs before! Collagen, bones, flavor. In a true instance of serendipity, I had just viewed a video for how to remove the silverskin (pesky membrane) from ribs. Ohmagah. All setski.
OK, silverskin off, we just tossed the short ribs into the slow cooker with some dregs of beer. This sounds slovenly, but it was done with a pure heart. A few bay leaves (oh, BTW, the ribs were salted a day before and left in the fridge).
I will not bother you with the rest of my recipe, but I will brag that the chilis were fresh. The beans were tender. The tomato was gardennial. (Advice! Use less tomato; it's better.)
I know chili is supposed to have a pantry flavor, a sense of "we got nuthin'; what should we eat?" But fresh chili was just the sweetest thing ever, and since I'm a Boomer Foodie Snob, I guess that's the way I'm doin' it.
Until winter.


Kailyn said...

I read your post right before entering the grocery store. To buy short ribs. Really. I still have my list.

Zoomie said...

My chili has always been of the made-from-cans-and-burger variety but this looks so good that I might have to try it. Need to get some of those great beans, however, before I attempt it. I ran out.

Chilebrown said...

Have you considered entering the Rodeo Chili Cook-off? We would welcome your expertise in this competition. October 16

Ms Brown Mouse said...

I did short ribs the other week, first time for me, fingerlicking wonderful!, used his wagu ribs too, mmmmmmmmm m!
I sometimes make red beans and rice (makes everything nice) and add some meat, a sort of chilli perhaps?

Zoomie said...

And I agree about the loathsome Boehner.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: I was amazed by the meatiness of the short ribs. Good luck.

Zoomie: (I can only whisper this here in the foodosphere -- we buy dried beans in bulk from Whole Foods. Very tender.)
You're already on solid footing if you make your own chili. Now you get to use real peppers and real meat and flavor it just the way you like!

Chilebrown: You are a dear. But no. I would hate cooking competitively and I'd be afraid the judges wouldn't like originality (or mildness).

Angel Mouse: Yay! How cute, we both did short ribs for the first time.
You are making a sort of chili, yes. We even served our leftovers the next day over rice.

Heather said...

I pressure-cook my stew beef to eliminate the need for pesky silverskin removal, but I'm just lazy. But everything else? You and I are kindred chili folk, we are.

(Oh, I do like to sneak in a skosh of cocoa powder and cinnamon. Just a whisper.)

cookiecrumb said...

Heather: Aw! Yup.
I see pressure cooking as "fast slow cooking," but you don't get to smell things... However, the silverskin advice is taken!

(Cinnamon is my formerly loved, then lately reviled spice, for which I have rekindled an amour by only using microscopical amounts, so you say "What's that?", not "Oh, cinnamon." Homeopathic cuisine.)

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Excellent! I'm a big fan of homemade chili. I just made a beautiful non-traditional sort yesterday filled with items such as chicken habanero tequilla sausage, butter beans, yellow onions, orange heirloom tomatoes, a few little round pale green eight ball sized zucchini, and yellow wax peppers.

cookiecrumb said...

Denise: OMG, you have just opened my eyes. That's certainly not traditional. It's just delicious. I'm going to follow your lead. Great.