Chili con Carbon

10 years and 10 months ago

Chili con Carbon

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After I don't know how many weeks of rainy, windy and generally speaking downright cold-for-the-season weather, I finally decided that summer was over, right before it started.Al Gore can kiss the backside of my shorts; I'm putting the furred pants back. Global warming, my butt.

Now that November officially comes right after June, and seeing that a business trip in Paris yesterday saw me in the vicinity of a "specialized" grocery store, where I had the chance to find a bit of chili powder just slightly less expensive than cocaine(1), I decided to fix myself a large marmite of Chili. 1 Kg of mincemeat (beef and pork. First because the pig is a cool and smart animal, next because eating pork in Europe these days is quite a political statement, and an act of resistance), red beans(2), corn, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, chili... Eat with corn chips, cream, and more chili sauce. The "Poblano salsa ranchera" on the photo below has to be my absolute favorite so far. Strong and very tasty — by which I mean, it's not just a burner.

It's made by Poblano Hot Sauce, Inc. Nicolas C. & Oscar R. Segura, in Tucson Arizona. I’ll petition the Vatican so that these guys be canonized alive.

One day, I will marry me a Chili Queen, and we'll live happily ever after.
  1. Maybe it's just me, but getting good Chili powder at a fair price in France seems to be on a par with finding an honest man in the government — and the stocks I brought back from my trips to London are long gone. Anybody ever bought Chili powder online? Please fill the comments with tips and addresses.
  2. Yeah, I know, beans in the Chili are regarded by some as an heresy. But then, I can't disregard any option to get the temperatures to rise again. I'm prepared to do my part to bring summer back, no matter how unpleasant the means might be. The struggle for climate change requires sacrifices.

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Chili con Carbone

Après je ne sais combien de semaines de pluie, de vent, et en règle générale de temps froid-pour-la-saison, j'ai finalement décidé que l'Été était terminé avant d'avoir commencé.Al Gore peut aller se faire mettre, je renfile mes pantalons fourrés. Réchauffement global, mon cul.

Maintenant que Novembre est officiellement placé après Juin, et comme un voyage d'affaires à Paris hier m'a trouvé à proximité d'une épicerie "spécialisée", où j'ai eu la chance de trouver un peu de poudre de chili à peine moins cher que la cocaïne(1) ; j'ai décidé de me cuisiner une grosse marmite de Chili. 1 Kg de viande hachée (bœuf et porc. D'abord parce que le cochon est un animal sympa et intelligent, ensuite parce qu'en consommer en Europe ces jours-ci relève de la prise de position et de l'acte de résistance), haricots rouges(2), maïs, tomates, oignons, ail, cumin, piments... A consommer avec des chips de maïs, de la crème et plus de sauce chili. La "Poblano salsa ranchera" sur la photo ci-dessous est probablement ma favorite absolue jusqu'à maintenant. Forte et pourtant très parfumée — j'entends par là que ce n'est pas qu’un brûlot.

Elle est faite par Poblano Hot Sauce, Inc. Nicolas C. & Oscar R. Segura, à Tucson, Arizona. Je pétitionne le Vatican pour que ces gars là soient béatifiés vivants.

Un jour, je me marierai une Chili Queen, et on vivra heureux et on aura beaucoup d'enfants.
  1. C'est peut être moi, mais acquérir de la bonne poudre de chili à un prix correct en France est encore moins évident que de trouver un honnête homme dans le gouvernement — et les stocks que j'ai ramené de mes voyages à Londres sont épuisés depuis longtemps. Quelqu'un en a déjà acheté en ligne ? Infos et adresses dans les commentaires, merci.
  2. Ouais, je sais que les haricots dans le Chili sont considérés par certains comme une hérésie. Cela étant, je ne puis négliger aucune option pour faire remonter les températures. Je suis prêt à accomplir ma part pour ramener l'Été, même si les moyens à employer doivent être déplaisants. La lutte pour le changement climatique demande des sacrifices.

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Comments thread (10)

  • Comment author avatar
  • Mitch TownsendWakefield, Massachusetts, USA

I can live with the beans, but that corn has got to go.  We use leftover steak, pot roast, or pork chops in chili, just as you would for a stew, and throw the gravy into the mix.  Smoky grilled meat seems to work best.  You can even use chicken, turkey, or sausages (there were no cattle in the Aztec empire).  Try a Vietnamese, Thai, or Chinese grocer for dried chili peppers and just crush them yourself (the chili originated in central America, so your spices don’t need a passport).  The heat is in the internal membranes and the seeds, so don’t lose them.  You also need cumin (cominos) as a spice.  Coriander leaves (cilantro) are very good, too, and the plant is easy and quick to grow.   It will push weeds aside and grow in a vacant lot or in the cracks in a sidewalk.  Tomatillos (husk tomatoes) are difficult to find, but they are the essential base of the green chili sauce, just as tomatoes are to the red sauce.  Good chili uses several peppers, from the mild vegetable taste of the poblano (called ancho when dried and pulverized) to the downright nasty habanero.  My favorite is the jalapeño, which is so easy to adjust for heat that it might as well have a thermostat.  When fully ripened and smoked, it is called the chipotle and is the "secret" ingredient for many prize-winning chilis.

  • Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9Western Pennsylvania

From the bottom pic I see you have access to Tobasco, so all is not lost. For breakfast this morning we had what I have come to call the Bin Laden Special. Thick sliced bacon, fried to just the right degree of crunchiness, sliced Portabella mushrooms, also fried to the precise point, not to much. Eggs and onions. MMMMMMM!!!!!!

 Wish I had seen this post earlier, I would have got a picture to share with the world.

One of my cousins who worked in the oilfields in Saudi and Iran in the ‘60s and ‘70s had the same trouble. He worked out recipes substituting  Pakistani and Indian spices, and goat/lamb meat. Not quite Tex/Mex, but it passed till he could get a resupply from home.

Una Salus Victus Nullam Sperare Salutem

  • Comment author avatar
  • Valerie, Texas

Hmm, chili…

If you have any of that bodacious looking chili left at breakfast time I recommend a Texas tradition: scrambled eggs topped with warm left-over chili.  Hmm-hmm.  Great way to start the day!

 

 

  • Comment author avatar
  • Iwo GinaMaryland

It certaily looks delicious! Too bad we can’t have a "virtual taste". I hope you enjoy it, DF! Bon apetite!

Iwo Gina :coolsmile:

  • Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9Western Pennsylvania

My mom introduced us to chili or salsa omlets many years ago. She had a house full of boys to feed, and those are excellent! Layer of grated cheese, layer of salsa or chili, layer of cheese, then fold that bad boy!

I prefer salsa, a nice, chunky one. With lots of cheese. What ever kind you prefer. Swiss and Colby-Jack win the vote in our camp.

Una Salus Victus Nullam Sperare Salutem

  • Comment author avatar
  • Ric LockeTexas, USA

You are suffering from a common malady: Google Localization. A quick trip down Search Engine Lane gives a couple of sources in the first few results: <a href="http://www.bulkfoods.com/spices.asp">Bulk Foods</a> will sell you fifty pounds of chili powder (or less if you like), and <a href="http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/mild-medium-or-hot-chili-powder">The Spice House</a> offers it in various octane ratings, to suit your personal compression ratio.

But Mitch is correct: whatever the source, chili powder is a shortcut, not an ingredient. About.com’s <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/seasoningrecipes/r/bl30420j.htm">Southern Cuisine</a> page gives a decent starting point, <i>viz.</i>:

* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon oregano
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder

None of that should be impossible to find in a French spice shop. Fresh, too. Use your imagination from there, especially as regards different types of peppers to add.

The real, original chili is a boring dish, the result of people trying to get something edible out of fresh-killed free-range beef (for which read: tough and flavored with foul-tasting resinous weeds the cows were eating.) Beef rolled in a little flour and browned, then stewed until it doesn’t require metal implements to chop bits off. That’s about it. Peppers are easily preserved by drying, so unlike other spices were at least available, and they will cut the taste of the ubiquitous bitterweed, which cows will eat with pleasure and which gives the meat a flavor that might remind you of an attempt to make ouzo and anisette, both gone horribly wrong, then mixed. Modern chili recipes result from the efforts of the late Frank X. Tolbert, reporter for the Dallas (Texas) Morning News, who encouraged elaboration because he liked hot stuff. Don’t worry about "authenticity". Anything truly authentic can only be choked down if you’re desperately hungry and need fuel.

Regards,

Ric

  • Comment author avatar
  • the dissident frogmanFrance

Well, between Mitch and Ric, I’ve got the chili powder covered in plain - and even ‘clinical’ - terms. Thanks a lot guys, I’ll definitely try to produce my own powder. Sounds like fun, and calls for lots of live tests. Can’t wait.

One last thing, if you’re still around: I read that Lyndon Johnson had his own recipe, in which he liked to use venison. Anybody ever tried that?

I have quite a lot of wild boar ribs in the freezer, from the last hunting season, and that piece really is only good for stew. I use to prepare them with red wine and a spoon of flour, and that’s ok - although just a tad dull.

If it would accomodate the chili, now that would become interesting…

Time to take sides

  • Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9Western Pennsylvania

Here in PA we use venison in chilli all the time. Lots of cuts from a deer that are fit only for such as grinding for sausage and fine chopping for stews and chilli. I also like to mix venison with ground beef, 60% venison 30% lean ground beef  and 10% tallow. Makes excellent hamburger patties and meatloaf. Also good for hamburgerhelper style dishs in the skillet. Ground venison is also good in pasta sauces, brown it with onions and lightly season, then add it to your suace base. MM MM good!! and it is lean and healthy. So don’t let it dry out while cooking.

 

Thus endeth the lesson, bon apetite’, y’all.

Una Salus Victus Nullam Sperare Salutem

  • Comment author avatar
  • GrimmyWhere I'm at.

Here’s the deal with chili. It’s the poor man’s stew of the southwest. It developed as a way to make any piece of meat, no matter what cut or quality or animal, edible.

Any meat that is fit for human consumption can go in a chili.

Where does the light go, when the light goes out?

  • Comment author avatar
  • Jimbo

Hey Frogman,

How big of a deal is it to get chili powder and some dried foodstuffs into France from America? I used to make a chili kit for one of my old girlfriends a few years back and mail her off the ingredients and directions - all she had to do was buy the meat on her end.

If you want to try a good pork chili, maybe this will help you out. I got this one from another girlfriend. She was born in Mexico and her mom taught her how to make this one and she gave it to me. I mellowed it out a bit as the way she used to make it would tear the flesh out of your mouth, until you got used to it.

3 tablespoons bacon fat

1 large yellow onion, diced

8 to 10 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed

2 1/2 pounds lean pork, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 japaleno chilies, seeded and minced (or to taste)

2 Anaheim chilies, seeded and minced

10 tomatillos, washed well and minced

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups chicken stock, broth or bouillon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste

juice of 2 limes

Heat the fat in a heavy iron skillet and sauté the pork until lightly browned on all sides.
With what is left of the fat in the pan, cook your onion and crushed garlic until lightly browned.
Put the chilis, tomatillos and spices in a food processor or blender and blend to almost a sauce texture.
In a large stainless steel pot, add the contents of the blender/food processor and the rest of your ingredients (except for the cillantro and lime juice) and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the pork is very tender.
Remove lid and if there is too much liquid, reduce heat until the sauce is thick. About an hour.
Add the cilantro, lime juice just before serving and season to taste with salt and pepper.