Step-Family Chili

I was recently asked to contribute a recipe to a cookbook for an organization that encourages step-families to live well.  Now that we have gotten some hints of fall in the air (my prayers continue to go up for the drought to end for the great state of Texas, where this recipe first began its evolution), I thought this would be something appropriate and different to share on the blog…

I have heard Ron Deal’s comment that step-families shouldn’t be
blended, but slow-cooked. In that spirit, here is a recipe I have
developed over the years that is a wonderful celebration of this
concept. Different ingredients cooked low and slow to lend their
unique contributions to one delightful, house-warming creation. I have
found that the longer it sits, the better it gets, provided you don’t
interrupt the process too much by reacting with the impulse to “fix” it
along the way. So true for stepfamilies! Slow and steady is a far better
recipe than quick and reactive. And isn’t that true with so much of life.
I have included options for making it hotter. Experiment to find the
best alarm-level for your family’s taste.

When serving it to large
groups, I typically make a big pot (triple recipe) that I would consider a
good 2-3 alarm chili. I will also make a small pot (half recipe) of a 5+
alarm concoction (heavy on chili peppers, including the almighty
habanero) that will burn a hole through your belly if eaten straight. I
then invite my family and friends to use the bowl of fire as a mix-in to
heat up a big bowl of the standard chili to their liking.
And if you ever join my family at our table for a big bowl of fiesta chili,
don’t be surprised if it seems a bit different than what you’ve been
cooking. I promise I’m not holding out on you – I just never really cook
it the same way twice. ENJOY!!!

Fiesta Chili

*1 – 1 1/2 lb. ground beef or venison (browned)
*2 cans Ranch Style Beans (undrained) or Texas Style (hotter)
*1 can crushed tomatoes (undrained) or 1 can Rotel (hotter)
*1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
* 3 green onions (chopped)
*1 poblano pepper (finely chopped) (can sub a bell pepper if poblano
is unavailable)
* 1 serrano pepper (finely chopped)
* 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped) or 1 tsp. garlic powder
* 3 jalepenos (chopped) (hotter)
* 2 cups beef broth
* 1 Tbs. Tabasco Sauce (hotter)
* 1 Tbs. chili powder
* 1 tsp. paprika
* 1 tsp. cumin
* salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat – in a cast iron pot, if you have one. As the meat is
almost browned, add all fresh chopped onions and peppers. When
meat, onions, and peppers are cooked (about 3 minutes or so), add all
remaining ingredients. I like to serve this chili over rice, so feel free to
stretch it with another cup or two of broth or water to feed another
person, if needed. Cook on stovetop at medium-low for 1-2 hours (the
longer the better), or in a crock-pot for as long as you can resist the
mouthwatering aroma.  After pouring over rice, and maybe adding some Fritos, top with fresh cilantro leaves to go all the way with your chili fiesta!

With Hope in Him and eagerness for fall weather,

Dr. Butner

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