With sweater weather in full swing and four weeks of fabulous NFL football under our belts, our palates crave the mellow, hearty tastes of autumn: apple pie, squash and pumpkin, free range turkey roasting in the oven stuffed with two boxes of Stove Top (I realize that this kind of defeats the purpose of the whole free-from-processed-crap slow-food movement, but damn, Stove Top is tasty!)
While a recipe for roast turkey would be more fitting this weekend as it is Canadian Thanksgiving, I realize that I did promise a chili recipe quite a while ago. Promise fulfilled after the jump.
This is my usual go-to lineup for ingredients – fairly standard except for the chick peas. My recipe varies depending on what’s on hand for spices and whether it’s Super Bowl time (in which case I add sausage) and can easily be doubled to feed a crowd. Just make sure your Crockpot is big enough to handle it.
1-2 lbs. lean ground beef
one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (Eden Organic recommended for its great flavour and practically-nil sodium content. Trust me, it’s worth the price.)
1/2 cup dried kidney beans (one 19 oz can will do, but if you’re concerned about sodium take the trouble and used dried beans)
1/2 cup dried chickpeas (ditto)
one chopped onion
two to three jalapeno peppers, chopped (for cripes’ sake, wear gloves or baggies on your fingers while you chop these. Ever get jalapeno oil in your eye? The pain is nothing short of incredible.)
one teaspoon cumin or chipotle chili spice, and crushed red chilis
If you’re working with dried beans, planning ahead is key. You can use the “quick soak” method in a pinch but I prefer to soak my beans overnight. 1/2 a cup may not seem like much but remember that soaking the beans will cause them to increase in size (“Duh, Bee,” you say. Fine, fine, fine…) Just be sure to drain the water and give them a quick rinse in a colander before you plan to use them.
Regardless of whether you use the Crockpot or the stove top, start by browning your onions in a little canola oil in a skillet and then add your ground beef. Make sure to cook your beef until the pink has disappeared so you don’t end up playing for Team E-Coli later that evening.
Meanwhile, empty your can of tomatoes in your Dutch oven or Crockpot. Rinse the can with water and add a third of a can to your pot. I do this so I don’t waste a drop of my freaking expensive but tasty tomatoes, and to add a little liquid so the chili doesn’t end up too thick.
Drain your well-cooked beef and onions (tip: drain the grease into your empty tomato can) and add to chili pot. Then add your peppers, beans and spices.
Simmer in a Crockpot on low for six hours, or on your stove for two or three.
Fill your bowl just before kickoff. Serve with cornbread muffins, fresh bread or my favourite – tortilla chips and shredded cheese (which should make up for all that missing sodium)
Bonus Beer Review by Bee: Bud Light Lime
A few weeks ago, when it was still somewhat warm, I decided to pick up one of these lime beers I keep hearing about. They’ve been fairly popular in my neck of the woods this past summer.
Now let me make something perfectly clear: I never drink Bud Light. In fact, I generally steer clear of Budweiser, Molson, Labatt and Moosehead (Canada’s oldest independant brewery. Whatever. History doesn’t make the beer taste any better.) It’s not an “I wanna set myself apart from all the other beer drinkers” thing. No, I just think they taste like crap.
But I was curious, and I always want to ensure that my opinions are backed up with the proper data. Besides, I decided, I had to make this sacrifice for the blog.
So back to a few weeks ago: I picked up a single can along with my Sleeman variety pack (this was my “vacation week” beer, I recall. Ah, the memories…) At the cash, I mention to Liquor Store Dude that I’m going to finally give Bud Light Lime a try.
“Hmm,” he says. “Well, do you like coolers or beer?”
“I love beer,” I replied, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. Then he explained that many people thought it had more of a cooler-taste to it. Note that with the exception of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, I’m not a cooler-type person.
I had an uneasy feeling as I headed towards the car. But the deal was done.
My husband mocked me when I came home and brought it into the kitchen. “So what? I just want to try it,” I retorted. Oh, but I knew where this was headed.
So we did the usual supper-kids to bed-clean up routine. Then it was time for a rewarding brew. I had to work in the morning so this Bud Light Lime was my only beer of the night.
I took one sip, and was overwhelmed with the taste of lime. Not the pleasant lime that lingers in your Corona. This was a fake plastic shitty lime that tasted like it materialized in a lab at Evil Bud Headquarters. Natural lime flavour, my ass, unless what they really mean is “natural lime” flavour. The effect was not a lime aftertaste but rather a craptastic before-and-during taste that screamed “IS THIS EVER FULL OF REFRESHING LIME FLAVOUR!” Eventually I choked it down, and once I got past the lime I was able to taste…well, very little. After all, this is Bud Light we’re talking about. And here was the kicker – the de-alcoholized Molson my husband was sipping had more character than this swill. I am not even joking.
Bud Light Lime, on a scale of ball players, gets a big ol’ Farnsworth from me. I know some of you dear readers disagree strongly with me, but I can’t hold back. It’s shit. Try this instead: buy a real lime at your grocer and slip a wedge into your favourite light-tasting beer. Better than fake-ass “natural lime” flavour any day.
Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian Ladies… readers!