I haven’t posted a recipe for a while and this morning as I rushed about the kitchen trying to get myself fed and watered before heading to the coffee shop for my fancy coffee, I asked Mr. Muse what he wanted for dinner. I got, “I don’t know… hadn’t thought about it.”
I asked if chili was acceptable. He said, “If you get me a recipe, I’ll make it.” I knew I wanted pumpkin chili, which I’ve made before and it was tasty. The thing is, once I make something from a recipe, I have near eidetic memory for the recipe, very seldom do I need to look it up again excepting baking – you need to be precise for baking. So, after stopping at the coffee shop for my fancy coffee, pounding out nearly two dozen answers on the crossword as I waited for said fancy coffee, reaching the office, and wolfing down my homemade breakfast bowl – I swigged my full-caffeinated “Baby Grasshopper” and set about typing up a recipe for Mr. Muse. I shall share that recipe with you… as well as the post script follow-up email.
So you need a recipe, hmmmm? I put on the island a variety of cans, jars and things, but that’s not everything that you’ll need as I was trying to get myself out the door.
So, after you’re done treadmilling….
- Chop the onion I put on top of the cans of beans, 1/4-1/2 inch dice
- Wash ‘n Chop 3 ribs of celery, 1/4-1/2 inch dice
- Wash ‘n Chop 2 red bell peppers, 1/4-1/2 inch dice
- Brown the ground beef and add the onion, celery and peppers about halfway through to cook that.
- Once the meat is browned and the veggies cooked (not cooked to death), add 1.25 oz (36 g) of the chili seasoning mixture. Later on flavor will need to be checked as you and I both thought it was missing something.
- Stop for a moment and hear my voice say, “That smells SO GOOD!”
- After adding the chili seasoning and letting that cook a minute or two, add the can of tomato paste and stir things up. Let it cook a minute or two.
- Grab the can opener, open all the cans of beans, yes – all six cans. Pour them into the big sink-straddling colander, rinse all their life-juices off of them. Channel C. Montgomery Burns as their life-juices drain away, tenting your fingers and saying, “Exxxxxcellent!”
- Pour the jar of tomatoes into the big pot of meat and veggies. Giggle at the sound they make coming out of the jar… wet farts. (Your wife is so immature!) **
- “Mmmmmm, delicious meat and veggies!”
- Grab the container of beef stock/broth from the left-hand island cabinet, shake it up, pour it into the pot.
- Stir the pot.
- Open the can of pumpkin puree (15 oz can for those of you at home) and add it to the pot and stir.
- Add the beans. All of them.
- Smile and remember how much I love you.
- Add to the pot 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice. One more may be added later. “Ooooh, it’s pumpkin pie! No wait! It’s CHILI!! I love chili!”
- Add two teaspoons of brown sugar to the pot. Eat one teaspoon because it’s brown sugar and you’re a hummingbird who is going to eat a spoonful of sugar anyway. Stir up the pot, take a taste.
- Does it need salt? Probably. Add 1 teaspoon.
- Pepper? Add a 1/2 teaspoon.
- Ask yourself if you should be cooking with wine. Should you? I think you should. Pour yourself a glass of wine*, drink it while you cook. Don’t add it to the chili. (The chili could really use a bottle of good beer. I drank all the good beer. No beer for the chili.)
- Is it really thick in the pot? Add some water until it looks good.
- Is the pot overflowing yet? Not yet? Good. Don’t let it overflow.
- Let it cook for a while, 10-15 minutes, medium-high… you want that sucker to bubble, but not BUBBLE. More than a mud pot in Yellowstone, less than Old Faithful.
- Shred some cheddar cheese to top the chili when it’s time to serve. Eat a little bit of what you shredded, because that’s the rules. Quality Control.
- Does this meal require cornbread or muffins? If so, there is cornmeal, corn flour and I think even some masa harina in the cabinet above the sink. Bake away my good man. (I use the Betty Crocker recipe for Buttermilk Cornbread… page 50- or 60-something, I think, whichever page it is… it’s wrinkly from stuff getting spilled on it.) The all-purpose flour blend is something like 5.25 oz per cup – you’ll have to check the book – there is a post-it flag marking the page.
- Think to yourself, “Sarah is going to think this is awesome. No, she’s going to think that I’M awesome for making this super-awesome pumpkin chili.”
- Add some dried parsley to the pot; a healthy palm-full will do.
- Do you need to add some dried cilantro? I know you’re shaking your head “No”, but ask yourself: “What would Sarah do?” Sarah would add some dried cilantro. Add just enough that you won’t say, “Ewww, cilantro. It tastes like soap.”
- About 5 minutes after adding the parsley, give things a taste. What is it missing? More garlic? Pepper? Salt? Chili powder? Brown Sugar? Pumpkin Pie Spice? Add what it needs.
- There is a can of diced green chilies in the drawer – would the chili like a can of diced green chilies? If it would, you should open the can and give the chilies to the chili. (That’s a lot of chilies in one bullet point.) Go ahead and think, or say, “Eat! EAT the green chilies! MWAHHHhh ha ha ha!” That’s what I’d do.
- There is a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in that drawer (at the back) with the green chilies. If you’re feeling spicy, you can add one or two (or more, but then you’re going to pay for that later and so will I – and you’ll hear about it…. just sayin’). If you’d like to avoid paying for extra spicy chili and listening to me complain – don’t add the chipotles in adobo (at least not a lot).
- Right now the chili should be all heated through, properly spiced and can just hang out on the stove top (cover on…dripping bacon fat into the sauce… mmmm bacon fat).
- Envision me driving home from my massage, seat-dancing and singing along to my loud music with dirty lyrics, watching the road for deer and beavers, and interspersing “Chili! Chili! Chill-EE!” while shaking imaginary maracas with one hand… cause you know, I’m driving – gotta have at least one hand on the wheel.
- Take a moment to hear me coming down the road and question HOW I passed my hearing test with such high marks when I play my music that loud.
- Greet me at the door with a cocktail and a hug (I like your hugs… even more than bacon – and I like bacon a lot). *Margaritas would go well with chili. “Jose Margaritas“: 2 parts Tequila, 2 parts Triple Sec, 2 parts lime juice (fridge door). Shake. Serve over ice. If you’re feeling fancy – I like a salted rim on my glass. (This is why I put the asterisk up there when I asked if you should be cooking with wine… I’m not trying to get your drunk.) [For those of you at home – Jose is/was a waiter at Pancho’s the last time Mr. Muse and I visited Cozumel and he was THE BEST WAITER EVER! He made us practice our Spanish and told us this margarita recipe.]
- Pause a moment as I tell you how SUPER-AWESOME you are and that the Pumpkin Chili you made smells awesome. (See what I did there?)
- Remind me that chores need to be done (unless you did them, in which case, you’re SUPER-DUPER-AWESOME…you also smell a little bit like the billy goat).
- Grab two bowls and spoons, dish up some awesome Pumpkin Chili. Dollop with fancy-schmancy organic greek yogurt made with wallaby milk… wait, the BRAND is “Wallaby”… not that the yogurt is made with wallaby milk… can you imagine?! (LOL I can’t help but picture a wallaby milking parlor right now.) Let the Shredded Cheese Fairy sprinkle some cheese on top. Lament not having green onions to also sprinkle on top.
- Eat the chili and enjoy the adoration of your wife for being so super-duper-awesome and making dinner.
- There are 4 jalapenos peppers in the veggie drawer. Halve 2 (or all 4), clear away seeds and membrane, dice 1/8-1/4 inch, add to pot with other veggies.
- Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn after the tomatoes. Chili likes corn.
That is all.
No it’s not.
I love you and you’re awesome! Upgrades on awesomeness rating available after dinner.
And THAT is how you make chili.
** Rachel Jay over at Suburban Style Challenge is stealing this line for her own recipe.
Do you have a favorite chili recipe?
Chili: With Beans or Without Beans?
What do you think of wallaby milk?