Friday, November 14, 2008

Smokey Chili

Smokey Chili
A little side note: I do a lot of my cooking on the fly (aka, skip the measuring cups, save yourself from doing more dishes). So use this as a guide, experiment, perfect it if you must...just don't freak out if I say "use a tsp of salt" and you use a tsp and a half and don't spend your day contemplating how to tell if your medium onion is a medium onion or not. If you like salt and onions use as much as you like, if you don't then skip it.

You'll need...
To perform this cooking task successfully:
1 Large pot or crock pot
1 small mixing bowl
Tbsp and tsp measuring spoons

For the Junk in the chili:
3 strips of raw (frozen - I'll explain why later) bacon (maple, thick cut, pepper, whatever)
1 lb pork loin (whole not ground)
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can kidney beans (these are the ones that look like kidneys, sometimes called just 'red beans')

1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
3+ Tbsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground oregano
1 Tbsp Seasoning salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes

I would go ahead and prep all of your ingredient ahead of time. Makes it easier to watch the stove and then you don't get behind, burn or forget anything.

Prep Veg: Dice the 1/2 medium onion, bell pepper, and garlic (you can buy pre-minced garlic to save time). Pull into small mixing bowl. To this add the Tbsp of seasoning salt, some black pepper (like a pinch or two), and even some chili powder if you like. This allows the vegetables to get seasoned before they go in the pot and helps disperse it evenly throughout the sauce. Toss the veg until it is evenly covered in seasoning, set aside.

Prep Meat: Use approximately 3 strips of bacon. I recommend you keep it frozen just because it's easier to slice into strips, if it's already defrosted, oh well. Cut the bacon into small pieces. The fat rendered from the bacon will help brown the pork and give the chili a smokey flavor. Next, take your pound of pork loin and cut it into cubes. I like the cubes of meat versus the ground. It makes the Chili more hearty like a stew. Also, if you want to substitute pork loin for flank steak or anything else then go for it!

Put in Pot: (If you're using a crock pot I recommend browning the bacon and meat before putting it in the pot). Turn your stove top on to medium high heat. Throw in the sliced bacon. Allow to cook (it doesn't have to be completely brown or crispy, just get some of the fat and juices out). Once there's some bacon greasy in the pot add the pork loin cubes. Cook until brown. At this point i recommend seasoning the pork with a little black pepper and chili powder. Don't worry about salt, the bacon will take care of that. Now add seasoned veg, kidney beans, the can of diced tomatoes, and the can of chicken stock (Don't worry the stock will reduce and get thicker). Bring all of these ingredients to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Add can of tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, ground oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer until sauce thickens. Feel free to add more chili powder, salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste.

Use this chili as a topping for baked potatoes, wavy egg noodle, rice, or elbow mac. Add shredded cheese, sour cream, or fried onions to finish it off.

Chili reheats well, you can even freeze it if you want. Also, the longer you let it simmer the more tender the meat will turn out. Always taste it and add seasoning to your liking.



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