Friday, January 8, 2010

Something for the Foodies

So, last night I made my secret chili recipe and, in a bold move acting out my belief that information should be denied no one, I live tweeted my cooking, giving away almost every detail of how to make my secret chili recipe. Now you can make Paul Mathers Style Chili. I left a few things out because of time and 140 character limits, so I thought it might be fun to expand on the event here. I've never put a recipe on this blog before, so this is something a little different.

I waited until last night to make the chili because Gina's boyfriend Stefan was in Nashville this past week until Wednesday and he wanted to try it. I don't make my chili often because there has to be an inciting event. The inciting event is that someone will give me really good and special meat. I won't use ground beef from the supermarket. Someone has to give me venison or (as it was in this case) bear. Or even if it's home-raised meat like a goat or a cow from a farm where the animal was able to use its legs and see the sun. That sort of thing. It's a matter of taste on two levels. The point is, you need a really good and special meat.

So, here's how you do it.

You take your meat out of the freezer much earlier than I did yesterday. If you're like me, you'll start your cooking time by putting the partially defrosted meat into a bowl of hot water and get to work on your puree first.
In a food processor, cut up your red bell pepper with olive oil and garlic. Puree and throw into a soup pot. Crack a can (not a bottle) of Guinness stout and pour the whole can in. Pour in one can of kidney beans and one of black beans. Get your tomato replacement sauce which is 1/2 cup molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tsp basil (although, as you can probably imagine, I just eyeball the measurements for the most part) and throw all of that in the soup pot as well. Squeeze a lemon in there (not lemon juice from a bottle!)
Let that simmer and by now you should be ready to brown the meat. Throw it in a pan with lots of olive oil, a whole diced red onion and even more garlic. Get your meat good and cooked, nice and brown, like you'd be ready to serve it just like that, and then throw everything in the pan into the soup pot.
Get it up to boiling and then let it simmer, stirring occasionally. Maybe throw Tom Waits' Glitter and Doom album on the stereo. Clean up a bit before Laurie sees what a mess you've made. You can let this simmer with occasional stirring for over an hour. I think I went about an hour and a half with this step. You want to give the flavors you have so far a good chance to get to know one another. You also don't want to put the spices in too early. The spices go in about 40 minutes before you're going to serve. Go ahead and throw about a glass worth of red wine in there. I go with a Shiraz.

While we're waiting, this is the first meal in our 3 years together that I've made for Laurie. She doesn't let me cook. First of all, because she's an excellent cook, so I don't mind. I like to cook, but every picture she's seen of things I cooked before we were together were dishes with a fried egg on top. Laurie hates eggs. The other reason is that I kind of explode all over the kitchen when I cook.

Okay, so now it's time for the spice drop. Do not use a mix. 4 tbl chili powder, 2 cumin, 1 cayenne, a bit of cinnamon, a bit of paprika, a bit of curry and salt. Maybe some black pepper. Let that mingle for about 20 minutes and taste it. It will probably have a strong after-kick and if you're trying to win people over with your cooking, especially people who are not spice-heads, now is the time to throw in some butter and grated cheddar. Slowly so you don't do too much. You can also throw in some dark chocolate here if you'd like. I didn't this time, but sometimes if you find you went a little crazy with the vinegar, lemon or wine, it's a good, sweet taste balancer. If you're like me, at this point you'll start to regret having toned the spice down so much and you'll throw a bunch of Tabasco into the mix.
Now, about 10 minutes before you're going to serve, cut up some carrots and your green bell pepper so that there will be a little crunch to it.

Laurie made kind of a whole wheat corn bread yesterday that went really well with it. The good people at Guinness sell their product in 4 packs, so a glass of Guinness goes well with this.

It was a success. Everyone liked it. Laurie even cleaned her plate.

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