November 22, 2008

Wicked Winter

As of this morning, there is no denying Winter has arrived in Nova Scotia.  Thirty centimeters (about 1 ft) of snow had fallen during the night.  Effectively covering the ground with a white blanket, and causing things to grind to a near halt.  We're Canadians, 30 cm slows us down, it doesn't stop us.  However, like most Haligonian's, I was snow bound for the morning, and spent part of my afternoon digging the car out from under all that snow.  

All this cold white stuff, that I'm anything but fond of, left me wanting something warm and satisfying for supper.  Really, when Winter hits there are only a few foods that will take off that chill.  One of the easiest and most satisfying is a great big bowl of Chili.  However, it is this specific desire for Chili is what lead me out into the snow to fight my way into a grocery store, and though the pathetically, poorly plowed roads.  Why couldn't I have wanted something that I had everything for already, as opposed to wanting Chili, when all I had for it was onions and garlic?  Thank goodness Sobey's is just around the corner.  

Lean ground beef was on sale this week, but due to the weather, there was no one around to put any out.  So I started looking at the alternatives, maybe some lower fat turkey, or mild pork.  I even looked over at the ground sausage.  Luckily, out of the corner of my eye I noticed some lovely local lamb for the same price.  Well, if I can have the extravagant purchase for the same cost, I'm going for it!  If you don't like lamb, use one of the other ground meats, any one of them will do.  After all, everything is about what will taste good to YOU (cheesy yes, but true).

After stocking up on the remaining necessary items, plus a few regular grocery items, I fought my way back home, and have determined that I truly need to move out of this frozen country.  Winter is not my friend.  Now, a little about my Chili before you go ahead and make it.  I like, no make that love, beans, therefore my Chili is a little heavier on the beans than most I've tried.  If you have a preferred type of bean, now is the time to use it.  I never use just plain old Kidney beans, so this time I used Chickpeas and Black Beans.  

Next, I've never been a big fan of tomato sauce, so while my Chili is tomato based, it is not as thick as your average Chili.  I find that the one I make, and love, is a more chunky style Chili.  Try, you'll like it.  Heck, my ex determined it was the best Chili she'd ever eaten, and I have yet to have a negative review on it - minus my friend who can not tolerate any beans what so ever in her Chili.


1 pound ground meat, use a lean meat, but not extra lean - you want some fat, it adds flavour
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
chili powder

In a large pot cook ground beef until no longer pink.  Do not drain out those lovely fat molecules!  To the cooked meat add all the veggies and cook, stirring constantly, one to two minutes.  Add chili powder - 2 Tbsp is a good starting point as it makes a very mild chili, if you like more heat, go from there.  I'm partial to the addition of about 4 Tbsp, but I like a fair amount of heat.

When chili powder has been mixed around and everything is coated with it, add the beans.  Give everything a nice stir before adding the diced tomatoes and bay leaves.  The Chili is going to look like there isn't enough moisture in it at this time, but don't worry, after it has cooked for a while, the veggies will let out some more water and you'll have plenty of liquid.  Bring to a simmer and leave on medium-low.  

After the pot has simmered away for about an hour, you can take it off and serve.  Corn bread would be a nice side, but the best is a slice of garlicky toast to soak of up the little bit of liquid that stays behind in your bowl.  

This makes a very large pot of Chili, enough for 6-8 servings.  

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