Saturday, October 2, 2010

Primal Kitchen Chili

This is actually quite simple. You sautee a bunch of veggies, onions, and peppers - your pick on the type - then combine with a large can (~30 oz.) of crushed tomatoes, and season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, etc. to taste. Add browned ground beef after all the rest has simmered for at least half an hour. Garnish with creme fraiche or sour cream. The next day the flavors should be even more deliciously melded, so make enough for leftovers!

P.S. - A fellow student from my grad school program - a Mexican lady - once told me (vaguely recalling here), "Americans think that all Mexican food is CUMIN. Cumin, cumin, CUMIN!"

Heh - I think she was referring to the dominant cumin taste in American-Mexican cuisine (analagous to the American-bastardized creations of fortune cookies and chop suey when it comes to Chinese cuisine). So if you want your chili kind of Taco Bell-ish, feel free to be liberal with the cumin. If not, go easy on it and let other flavors take center stage.

Here's the long version:

Primal Kitchen Chili
Serves 4 adults generously

2 lb. ground beef
1 large (~30 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (I used one with added basil)
2-4 cups of 1/2"-1" cubed fresh veggies - in my case I like zucchini and yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.
1-2 finely chopped jalapeno or other peppers, if you like it spicier
Butter or other stable cooking oil, to sautee the veggies and peppers
Broth, if you want to make your chili a bit thinner
If you do dairy, creme fraiche or sour cream (or cheese) to top

Seasonings to taste:
Cumin (this is the traditional American interpretation Mexican seasoning)
Cilantro (if using fresh, stir in just at the end or use to top as a garnish)
Dried chipotle peppers
Cayenne (Be careful! A little goes a LONG way!)
Paprika (this, especially sweet paprika, will take your chili in a "goulasch" direction the more you add)
Garlic powder

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add onions and peppers and sautee in butter or other cooking oil until the onions start to brown and turn translucent. Add other veggies, and stir continuously for about 10 minutes to ensure that everything gets an even shot at being browned/sauteed. Add veggies and canned crushed tomatoes together in a crock pot on low, and then brown the ground beef. Season the ground beef as it browns, tasting along the way to make sure that the seasoning is to your liking, and then add this to the crock pot when it's mostly brown (especially if this is grass-fed ground beef, which is easier to overcook). Stir contents of crock pot through, allowing to warm for a few more minutes. Garnish with any of the following: sour creme or creme fraiche, cheese, and fresh cilantro.

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