Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Time for Chili!

That episode of the Simpson's where Homer eats the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper was on this week. That's definitely one of my favourites (along with the Scorpio episode). There are so many great one liners! My favourite is when Homer is doing the dance and whining "But Marge, we're missing the chili!".

This is a close second:

So, it seemed that chili was the totally reasonable thing to eat for dinner! Now, I'm not a huge fan of really spicy foods. This chili recipe was introduced into my family more than a decade ago through Canadian Living. It's called Stratford Heartburn People's Choice Chili, and because it regularly one that award at the Stratford (Ontario) Heartburn Annual Chili Cook-Off. It's sweet, tangy and smoky with bacon goodness.

Perhaps it shouldn't be called Chili. It doesn't actually have any chili powder in it.

We'll forgive it that, and in return you'll discover that it's a really forgiving recipe. Don't have enough bacon? Fine. Use what you've got. Have a 28 oz can of tomatoes? No worries. Throw it in, and let reduce longer. Don't eat beef? Use turkey. Because it cooks low and slow for 3 hours, the sauce is super flavourful and really infuses the meat and beans with its lovely goodness. By the time it's done, you won't be missing the traditional chili seasonings at all!

Stratford Heartburn People's Choice Chili


(Canadian Living Magazine, February 1997)

7 slices lean bacon (I often use whatever I have on hand. I used 2 slices this time) 1 lb lean ground beef 1 onion; chopped 1 clove garlic; minced 2 tablespoons brown sugar; packed 2 tablespoons fancy molasses 1 can (19 oz) tomatoes (again, feel free to use whatever you have, I used a 28 oz can) 1 can (14 oz) kidney beans 1 can (14 oz) baked beans with pork and molasses 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and hot pepper sauce


Preheat oven to 300º.

In a Dutch oven (or any large ovenproof pot), cook bacon over medium heat. When crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.

Add beef and onion to the pan. Sauté until beef is browned, about 10 minutes, breaking beef up. Drain off fat.

Add all remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven. Stir thoroughly.

Cover and place in oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally (like once an hour). After the two hours are up, pull the chili out of the oven and remove the lid.

At this point, it's all about thickening this bad boy up. Return the lidless Dutch oven to the oven and let cook for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so (totally not a necessary step, but I like to make sure everything is coated with the delicious sauce). When it's ready, it'll look like this:

See how much liquid has reduced? Welcome to flavour country!

This recipe theoretically serves 4, but I think it serves more like 6, especially when accompanied with bread and a crisp green salad!

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