sylke: (salt)
[personal profile] sylke
Haven't done a recipe post in a long while. Mostly posting because I was happy with how dinner came out tonight and I want to write it down somewhere I'll remember where to find it later.

My mom has a no-fail chili recipe. It's easy, very mild, very guest-friendly, easy to make ahead and freeze, disappears very quickly. It's not spicy or complex or anything, it's just a really reliable, scalable meal. It's also one of the only ways I'll eat green peppers, largely because the recipe involves cooking the hell out of them and basically leaving none of the "pepper" character to them. The last time I made it, Nathan was a little disappointed that it didn't have more spice to it, so this time I tried to help it out a bit. Conveniently, Nathan had been experimenting with habañero syrups recently, and there were a couple of tiny, neon-orange peppers left in the crisper drawer. I realized what I must do. I'm also not an idiot, so I broke out a new pair of rubber gloves (I try to keep a couple pair around in case I ever have to clean the litter boxes; even though I tested immune to toxoplasmosis, I'm still not supposed to change cat boxes without gloves and copious washing) and washed them thoroughly both before and after mincing the pepper. And what is chili without cornbread, so I was delighted to discover I had all the ingredients on hand and that it would take just the right amount of time to prep and bake while the chili was simmering. Plus, we had a can of creamed corn, and I personally love my corn bread with actual corn-bits in it. Total win on dinner. Nathan said afterward he hadn't thought he was particularly in the mood for chili but ended up really enjoying both it and the cornbread.

The chili recipe is really easy to double, triple, or more, and it freezes spectacularly well. If we get tired of eating it, I'll just freeze it in a few batches and presto, easy meals when we're too zonked out after caring for the new baby.

Mom's Chili:
1 med onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

Cook onion and pepper in 3 T oil in a large stock pot until lightly browned. Set onion and pepper to the side.

Brown and drain 1 lb. hamburger meat in the pot. Add back in onion and pepper.

Add:
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 buds garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
8 oz tomatoes (diced, or whole ones broken up; can use sauce)
2 cans kidney beans, semi-drained (15 oz)
1/2 habañero pepper, minced (optional, if you want a bit of heat)

Simmer at least an hour. Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar, and sliced green onions as optional toppings.

------------------------------

Corn Bread (from Epicurious, slightly modified)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons light brown sugar (maple syrup would be an awesome substitution here)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can creamed corn
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten to blend


Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Butter 8-inch square baking pan. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl to blend. Add creamed corn, butter and egg. Stir just until blended. Spoon batter into pan.

Bake until edges begin to pull away from pan sides and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Moist, sweet, a little crumbly if you eat it warm, but as it cooled it got a bit easier to dip into the chili.
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