I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Koko's Chili

Today I made up some chili. As with reubens, there are as many chili recipes as there are mothers. Everyone knows the one with ground beef, tomato sauce, chunked tomatoes, onion, garlic and chili powder. That is pretty much standard chili and it is guaranteed not to offend. You can bring it to any church function and you will get smiles from on high. I have probably 15 different recipes for chili, but my current favorite has absolutely no place in church. In fact, my chili has been banned from the whole state of Utah. I have been working on this recipe for 13 years, but it has been relatively stable for the last 4.

Allow me to opine on what makes good chili. Making the chili should be every bit as adventurous as eating the chili. When people come over to my house they see me slaving over a pot all day. As the day goes on the chili smells better and better until they can't possibly stand another second. At that exact second I serve it up with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and oyster crackers. I have a rule - only I taste the chili before it is served. That rule combined with my constant building it up all day long raises the anticipation to a fever. The other thing that makes good chili is that it can't be duplicated unless you know the secret recipe. It should be different from what you usually get when you get a bowl of chili. Finally, not everyone should like your chili equally. It should be tolerated by some but revered by others. There should be a few people who eat it and just go batty about it and a few who would prefer the standard baby-blue-living-room chili. Not everyone has good taste, so not everyone should like good chili.

Koko's Chili

Makes about a saucepan full.

Brown 1 strip of bacon in a saucepan. Remove the bacon and set aside. Cut a 1 pound piece of cheap beef into about 1/2 inch cubes. Brown the meat in the bacon grease for about 15 minutes.

To the meat add:
8 oz tomato sauce
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1/4 t MSG
1 T dried minced onion
1 t beef bouillon powder
1 t chicken bouillon powder
1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne pepper (be very careful with this, less is more)
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
2 t minced garlic
1/2 T paprika
1/2 t seasoned salt (I use Johnny's)
1/2 c beer
the strip of bacon, crumbled up

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to very low so that the mixture just simmers. Cover and simmer 1 hour 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beer as necessary when it gets too thick. Throughout the course of the recipe you will probably have to add about 12 ounces of beer.

Next add:
1 T chili powder
1/4 t seasoned salt
2 t brown sugar
a squirt of ketchup

Cover and simmer 1/2 hour more.

Next add:
2 t chili powder
1/3 t seasoned salt
1/4 t MSG
2 t cumin

Cover and simmer 1/2 hour more.

Finally add:
1/2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t minced garlic
1 t dried minced onion
1 t beef bouillon granules
1 t chili bouillon granules

Cook for 1/2 hour and then remove from heat. I like to let it sit for about 15 minutes before serving. It gets better the second day.

Today when I made it instead of cayenne I used 1/2 of a dried Caribbean red hot pepper ground up in a coffee grinder. I grow these in my garden. For the chili powder I used a brand made in Topeka Kansas called Jose Lopez chili powder. It has a bunch of different things in it like clover and nutmeg and is very tasty. I like to add the spices a little at a time, that is why the recipe is broken up into chunks. It really does taste different if you make it this way instead of adding it all at once.