I have a nostalgic recipe for my Mom’s “Favourite Chili” hanging on the bulletin board attached to my refrigerator. It calls for things like real kidney beans that you have to parboil, chopped onion and green peppers, cumin, cloves, chili powder, garlic cloves, tomatoes, and salt to taste. I just love recipes that say “salt to taste”. Sounds like they are giving you “creative licence”.
I am going to tell you how to make the best and fastest chili in the world, but you need to remember several things before I reveal my recipe:
1. If something takes more than ten minutes to fix, I don’t fix it.
2. Shortcut cooking is my kind of cooking.
3. I am no purist.
4. I rarely follow a recipe—I cook by ear (you know, some people play music by ear, I cook by ear)
5. I think cooking from scratch is laudable. It is something I rarely do, but it is laudable.
Okay, are you ready?
Cook some hamburg (if I were being official I would say a pound to a pound and a half, and scramble fry it).
Add some chopped onion if you are feeling really creative, while you are cooking the hamburg.
Once the hamburg is browned, add a big can of tomatoes (32 oz if you are getting fussy); a can of kidney beans (the cheapest you can find on the shelf); a can of tomato sauce (whatever size you have); a can of tomato soup; and some water (usually about half a tomato soup can).
Add one packet of chili mix (I use President’s Choice or Old El Paso—but it is your choice). I put this in at any point in the process, usually just after the meat has been browned and before I add the liquids. Sometimes I forget and add it later—like now.
If you are still feeling creative, peel a clove or two of garlic, cut in half and drop into chili. (I cut it big for easy retrieval later.)
Add a teaspoon or so of cocoa and some “salt to taste”. And some black pepper if you want.
Heat until it bubbles, then turn down to a simmer for a couple of hours. If you don’t have a couple of hours, twenty minutes will do.
Ladle (I used the word dump at first but thought that was too indelicate) into bowls and serve with toast or garlic bread or bread right from the wrapper.
As I have noted several times in this blog, I am a white girl of Scottish, English, Irish, French, and Pennsylvania Dutch origins. There may be something else in the mix—I am not sure. Other people in my family, with exactly the same origins are really good cooks and they cook from scratch. So, what is my excuse?
If truth be told, I am not a bad cook. And I love good food lovingly prepared. I just choose to lovingly prepare mine in as little time as possible. If you liked this recipe I can share my Best Ever Easy Beef Stew with you, but be forewarned, there is no searing and very little chopping in my recipe–but it is tasty and not time-consuming. Ask and it will be given.
For now, happy Friday to all, and to all a good weekend.