Serpent Player's Bad-For-You Chili Recipe

(how to feed 10 - 12 hungry serpentists)

Notice: This is a fine, RICH chili. If you tell your doctor what's in it, you will be advised to avoid it. Yummy but fatty and full of cholesterol.

3        lbs. ground beef (at least 80% lean)
1        lb. ground lean pork
3       16oz can dark red kidney beans
1        stick butter or margarine (1/2 cup)
1        8oz can tomato sauce
3        1-lb. can diced tomatoes (do not drain or discard the liquid)
4        large green bell peppers
3        large white onions
3        11oz bag white corn tortilla chips, round style (Jays or similar)
2/3 to 1 cup chili powder (*)
4 to 6 tbsp masa flour (commonly used to make tortillas & tamales, Quaker brand or similar)
2        tbsp ground oregano
1-1/2  tbsp paprika
1-1/2  tbsp ground red pepper (cayenne pepper) (*)
2 tbsp minced fresh garlic (as opposed to dried minced garlic; this may require about one medium sized 'head' of garlic about the size of a golf ball)
1-1/2  tbsp salt, to taste (NOT tsp!)
2         tsp ground black pepper
3         tsp cumin
1         bag shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

NOTE 1) tbsp = tablespoon, tsp = teaspoon
NOTE 2) ingredients marked (*) may be adjusted more or less to taste
NOTE 3) both tomato sauce and diced tomatoes are used in this recipe. It just seems to work better with the sauce added.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Break up both meats and stir into melted butter, then stir occasionally until meat is browned through. Drain meat fat/butter liquids from meat, pouring liquid into a bowl for re-use (it is not discarded), and set pot aside.

Chop peppers and onions into small pieces, no more than roughly 1/2" to a side. Break the head of garlic into the separate wedge shaped cloves, then use a knife to cut the ends off and peel the outer layer, leaving the softer fruit. Use a garlic press to reduce the cloves to a paste, or use a fine grate to accomplish the same thing. The paste should measure to between 1 and 2 tablespoons. Measure about one half cup of the liquid that was drained from the meat, and mix it with half the garlic paste in a frying pan/skillet. Over medium heat, saute half the peppers and onions until tender and the onions are translucent. Remove from pan along with the liquid. Repeat with another measure of liquid and the rest of the garlic, peppers and onions. When finished, mix all vegetables with their liquids back into the meat in the pot, adding one half cup of the remaining liquid that was originally drained from the meat. There should be only a little liquid left, and it can be discarded.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano and paprika, stirring until a uniform mixture is obtained (this is a kind of factory-uniformity approach, but it avoids the inconsistant pockets of spices that can result from trying to separately add the spices to the thick mixure in the pot). Return the pot to the stove over medium heat, and thoroughly stir in the combined spices. Stir in the tomato sauce, then stir in the complete contents of the cans of diced tomatoes. The meat liquids plus the tomato liquid comprise the entire fluid content of the chili.

Simmer for one hour with the pot covered, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes. Remove the cover and place a splatter guard screen over the top of the pot (or, if the pot and lid design allows it, simply rest the lid on top of the pot so that steam can readily escape but splashing from bubbling liquid cannot leave the pot). Simmer this way for another 1/2 hour, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the kidney beans and stir them into the pot, and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.

The mixture in the pot will be fairly soup-like in consistency. Add about 2 tablespoons of masa flour and stir in, and check the consistency. Repeat with more flour until the desired thickness is achieved.

Serve immediately, with lots of tortilla chips for dipping (use instead of a spoon). Optionally sprinkle with cheddar cheese. A dark beer will help wash it down. If you would rather have soft drinks, Squirt or Fresca are excellent choices and their flavor complements the spices very nicely.

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Copyright Paul Schmidt 2004
revised October 2004