Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Three Pepper Chili

As I'm sure you've gathered, we have a fair amount of snow 'round these parts, and with wind-chills down around -20 at times, I find myself wanting lots of nice, hot food.

Also, my Sammy has a bit of a cold, to put it mildly, so he's been eating lots of spicy food to help clear out the sinuses.

Thankfully, I have something to fit both of those bills and is something you can make, throw in the crock pot, and forget about for awhile.

And I wanted to share the process with all ten of you who've been dropping by.

(Yes, my numbers have grown some! Here's hoping they're not fair-weather friends like the Russians and Swedes have been....)

With all of this in mind, I somewhat proudly present:

How to Make Three Pepper Chili

Once again, here's our cast of characters:

Present and accounted for is diced tomatoes, onion, dark red kidney beans, tomato sauce, light red kidney beans, ground beef, sausage, butter, red bell pepper, Serrano pepper, and a jalapeño pepper.

Yes, those last three are why I call this Three Pepper Chili.

Today's spices consist of garlic powder, ground cumin, onion powder, ground coriander seed, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground sage, salt, oregano leaves, paprika, marjoram, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of spices--even for you!" Trust me, my friends, this is totally worth it.

To start off with, let's prep all of the veggies, beginning with our good friend the onion.

 We're going to chop this wonderful, smelly baby up.

Most people will likely dice this instead of chop it. However, I like a really chunky chili, and having large pieces of onion just makes me happy.

Then again, I'm a bit weird.

But please, make the onion pieces as large or small as you (and your potential picky eaters) like.

 Next we're going to chop up the red bell pepper. Normally, I just lop off the top of the pepper, pull the core and seeds out of the center, and start cutting it up.

When I'm cutting it up, I like to cut off the whitish bits and throw them to the side. I know some people who don't worry with that, but I sure do.

After you've trimmed all icky white stuff off, go ahead and dice up the bell pepper into 1/2" to 1" chunks, again depending on how chunky you like your stew.

This here is our friend the jalapeño. 

(Love the jalapeño--it will do wonderful things for the chili.)

Again, start by lopping off the top of the jalapeño. 

Here's the inside of the jalapeño. And yes, I once again forgot to wear rubber gloves while handling the hot peppers.

If you are so foolish as to do this, be sure to wash your hands very thoroughly every five minutes or so while making the chili.

And then again every 10 minutes or so the rest of the day.

And whatever you do, do not rub your nose, your eyes, or any other sensitive membrane on your body.

Trust me.

Anyway, I digress.

Slice the jalapeño down the center. Next, using your gloved hands, start ripping out the core. Once you've removed as much as you can manage, rinse out the remaining seeds.

This should leave you with a pretty jalapeño, similar to what's pictured above.

Just as you did with the bell pepper, trim off the white stuff as you cut the pepper into strips...

...and then finish dicing it up.

Now, with the jalapeño (and later the Serrano pepper), you'll want to go ahead and dice it up fairly small.

Lastly, we're going to chop up and dice the Serrano pepper.

If the jalapeño is our good friend in this chili, then the Serrano pepper is the life of the party. It's totally the Jeff Winger of the chili.

Also, without it I couldn't call this Three Pepper Chili.

Again, lop the top, split it open, scoop out the innards, and trim off any remaining white.

And again, please, in the name of all that is good and holy, wear gloves!

And then proceed to finish up dicing them.

Congrats! You've now completed Chapter 1: Prepping the Veggies. Please insert Disc 2 to begin Chapter 2: Browning the Meat.

And while you're waiting for the disc changer to finish loading up the next installment, go ahead and throw away all of the extra stuff from the veggie prep.

(Yes, I'm being slightly silly. I blame the fact that Sam and I have been in our house without leaving for over 48 hours.)

Once again, my dear friends, we're going to start by throwing in two tablespoons of butter to melt in a 10-inch skillet on medium heat.

Yes, a great deal of my cooking begins with sauteeing  onions and/or garlic.

In this case, it's going to be 1/2 cup of the onions we prepped earlier.

Once the butter is melted, go ahead and throw these lovelies into the skillet.

While occasionally stirring the onions to make sure they don't shrivel up and stick to your pan, go ahead and dig out your pound of ground beef...

...and your 1/2 pound of sausage. I personally like to use J.C. Potter sausage with sage, because a) no MSG and b) sage! Yum!

Go ahead and cut up the meat, so that once the onions are nice and translucent, you can throw the meat in.

Look at that--these babies are ready for some meat.

So go ahead and toss it in. In this photo, I have the sausage in the center and the ground beef around the edges.

I don't know why, I just did.

So of course I had to mix it all up. Also, at this time I added 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, ground coriander seed, and chili powder to the meat.

And yes, we'll be adding more of those same spices (plus others!) to the chili later.

Keep an eye on the meat and stir it occasionally, again to prevent burning and sadness. After a couple of minutes, you should have completely browned chili meat.

Congrats! You've now completed Chapter 2: Browning the Meat. Please insert Disc 3 to begin Chapter 3: Into the Pot.

(Please don't leave! I won't do it again. Promise!)

Now that the meat is completely browned, go ahead and turn off the heat and transfer the meat mixture into the crock pot.

If you steal a bite of the meat, I won't tell.

Next, grab your plate with all the veggies and add them to the crock pot as well, then mix it all up.

Next, open up the can of the light red kidney beans and drain off the juice. It doesn't have to be perfect, but at least get the majority drained off.

Then go ahead and it add them to them to the chili.

Drain the juice off of the dark red kidney beans and add them as well.

(Isn't it pretty?)

And then go ahead and mix it all up. We're getting ever closer to actual chili!

Next we're going to open up that can of diced tomatoes and add them to the mix.

Don't forget to mix it all up afterwards!

Now, before we add the tomato sauce, we're going to add in the rest of our spices:

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1 heaping teaspoon of cumin

1 heaping teaspoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of ground sage

1 teaspoon of ground coriander seed

1 scant tablespoon of marjoram

1 scant tablespoon of oregano

and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Also add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 pinches of red pepper flakes (not pictured).

Makes my sinuses start to run just looking at all that spiciness.

Be sure to mix this up very thoroughly--try to make sure those spices cover everything, top to bottom.

Now we can go ahead and add the tomato sauce.

And then once again, stir it all up.

Set your crock pot on low, put on the lid, and then walk away for six to eight hours. If you want, you can stir it every couple of hours or so, but it's not required.  This is an excellent meal to make in the morning before you leave for work or school!

Bon appetite!


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 hours
Size: 8-10 servings
   1 whole medium yellow onion
   1 whole red pepper
   1 whole jalapeño
   1 whole Serrano pepper
   2 tablespoons butter
   1 lbs. ground beef
   .5 lbs. sausage

   1 15.5 oz can light red kidney beans
   1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans
   1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
   1 29 oz can tomato sauce
   1.5 tsp garlic powder
   1.5 tsp onion powder
   1.5 tsp paprika
   1.5 tsp black pepper
   1.5 tsp cumin
   1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
   1.5 tsp ground coriander seed
   1.5 tsp chili powder
   1 tsp salt
   1 tsp ground sage
   1 scant tbsp oregano
   1 scant tbsp marjoram
   2 pinches red pepper flakes

1. Wash and dice up onion, red pepper, jalapeño, and Serrano pepper.

2. Melt butter over medium heat in 10 inch skillet. Once melted, add 1/2 cup of onions and sautee onions. 

3. Next, add ground beef and sausage. Add .5 tsp of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, ground coriander seed, and chili powder. Mix thoroughly with meat, and cook until meat is browned. Remove from heat.

4. Add meat mixture to 6-quart crock pot. Next add remaining onion, red pepper, jalapeno, and Serrano pepper. Mix. Then add light red and dark red kidney beans, and mix again. Finally, add tomatoes and mix thoroughly.

5. Add 1 tsp of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, ground coriander seed, chili powder, salt and ground sage. Also add oregano, marjoram, and red pepper flakes. Mix. Add tomato sauce. Mix again.

6. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

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