Saturday, October 20, 2012

Smoky Beef and Bacon Chili (No Food Waste Night 6)

Ah, the weekend. Okay, in our house there is no relaxed sigh as the weekend begins. It is always fast paced and moving. Maybe once the kids get older but for now, the day starts the same as every other day of the week except my husband doesn't have to go to work. Being parents, though is apparently a full-time, no vacation time job. Who knew? I probably would have taken the job anyway. The kids giggle and smile at me or when I kiss away their boo boos, it is all worth it. At 5 am it doesn't feel that way. When the sun is up though, and my mom energies are officially going, then all is good in the world.

Our early morning oatmeal kick started our day. AND we even went grocery shopping. I know six days later but still, we went. We won't go again until next payday but hey, we have enough to get us through the next week and a half. I was doing the silent "go mummy, go mummy, go mummy" dance as I packed the full bags and kids into the car. Small victories and all that.

Once we got home, and unpacked, I set about making us a late lunch/early dinner. I even picked up the much anticipated beer (hmmm, there goes that "go mummy" cheerleader again). I decided that I would go with the Smoky Beef and Bacon Chili and made sure I grabbed the organic fire roasted tomatoes at Trader Joe's. Here is the recipe I started with:

2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
About 1 tsp. salt
1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (see Notes) or regular crushed tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup beer (India Pale Ale or pilsner)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained
Sour cream, sliced scallions, and/or grated cheddar for topping

I started by getting a couple of bacon slices out of the package. I chopped it about halfway through and then I decided it was taking too long and it was difficult so I threw the rest into the pan whole and figured I would chop it after it cooked (note: I didn't). While the bacon fried in the pan, I finely chopped the onion. I added the onion and cooked them both until the onion was translucent. Then I added my meat mixture from earlier in the week (about 2/3 lb of meat plus carrot and onion). I heated it all together and then dumped the seasoning in (4.5 tsp chili powder, 1.5 tsp cumin, 1.5 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt) and cooked everything for about a minute, stirring and mixing continually.

For the wet ingredients I added one 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 cup of my canned salsa/tomato sauce, 1 cup of beer (the bottle was 11.2 oz, so I measured out 8 oz, took a long swig and then dumped the extra oz of so in as well) and 1 tsp Worcestershire. I added it all to the pan and brought it to a boil. Instead of letting it simmer on the stove for 30 minutes, I put it into my 4 qt. crock pot. As I stirred it in the crock pot, it seemed like the whole thing was just meat so I ended up making a second batch, kind of. I cooked some bacon, threw in the spices, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 c. tomato sauce, another bottle of beer (minus a sip) and the tsp of Worcestershire. I brought it to a boil and then dumped it into the crock pot. I let the whole thing cook, with the cover ajar for about an hour and a half.

Once we were getting ready to eat I added the two cans of pinto beans. There didn't seem to be enough beans so I added another can. There still didn't seem to be a lot but I didn't have any more cans. If I were making it again, I would use 2 cans were batch (so double would be 4 cans). If I were making this for a group, I would make it 3 cans so it would go a little bit farther.

While the beans heated up in the chili, I shredded Cheddar Cheese and got out sour cream. I served it with tortilla chips and corn chips.

The verdict? The chili was a little spicy. I don't know if it was the spices or the hot peppers in my tomato sauce but it was a good spice. I would make this again on a cold day. I feel like the recipe required a lot of ingredients I don't normally keep on hand so I would have to plan ahead. For me it is not a whip it up out of pantry but if you keep beer, pinto beans and fire-roasted tomatoes on hand then this recipe is for you. Also, the set up was a little time consuming. It might be something to put together and let it simmer in a crock pot on low all day. It took about 35 minutes or more to get everything to the point where it was to be left simmering on the stove for 30 minutes, then the 10 minutes more once you add the beans. The recipe does tell you that it will take over an hour but that is a little time consuming for me during the week. This recipe will be one of those I use after I pick up the ingredients and on a day that I have plenty of time to make it.

The food waste? Oatmeal was consumed and lunch was more of a snacking until the chili finale. Onion skins, garlic skins and chip crumbs went to the chickens. As for the rest? There wasn't any. The real trick will be to eat the entire 4qts up before it goes bad. I plan on putting 2 - 1 qt jars into the freeze for a chili day. (Oh, the horrible puns! I crack myself up.)

My final recipe:
2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped and cooked crisply
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 pounds lean ground beef, with shredded carrots and onions added to make 2.5 cups of cooked goodness)
3 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP smoked paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 can (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
2 c. tomato sauce
2-11.2 oz beer (India Pale Ale or pilsner)
2 tsp. Worcestershire
4 cans (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained
Sour cream, grated cheddar for topping, served with chips for scooping

This article was shared on Natural Family Fridays,

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