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.