Friday, December 16, 2011

Make Mine Mild--Variations on a theme of chili

Among my hobbies are role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. I have two groups I meet with pretty regularly, one hosted by Austin the minimalist. Austin frequently makes stew for us, or in the summer, marinates and grills some delicious steaks or chicken.

I thought I'd make chili for this group, but I was asked to make it a little milder for those in our group with more delicate palates (and stomachs). It took some consideration on my part. Anyone can make bland food, but I wanted both flavorful and mild. My final ingredient list ended up like this:
  • 3 pounds of stew meat
  • 4 cans of black beans
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 6 cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 tomatillos chopped
  • 2 T vinegar
  • two large white onions chopped (these were the size of small grapefruit)
  • 3 heaping T cumin
  • 2 heaping T chile powder
  • four squares of Lindt dark chocolate with chiles
  • 1 bottle of Guinness
There was so much liquid from the tomatoes that I could only fit one bottle of Guinness in the Dutch oven. I kept the heat pretty low, and it took its sweet time thickening. I stirred it pretty freqently, but I did end up with some of it sticking to the bottom.

Everything was in the pot by around 6:30 p.m. I stayed up until about 1:00, stirring every half hour to forty-five minutes or so. My sweetie, bless his heart, got up at 6 a.m., put the heat back on under it and did some stirring until we turned the heat off around noon.

Transporting it wasn't as difficult as I might have thought. A while back, I bought a large Rubbermaid tub with a locking lid, so there were no disasters on our way north. We also brought some accessories for further doctoring: some smoked gouda with jalapenos, some sharp cheddar, additional chopped onions, a few jalapenos and two kinds of hot sauce. 

I was very pleased at the reception. Second and third helpings were had in several instances, and one compliment was slightly incomprehensible because the giver had his mouth full. I'll take it. The heat built underneath at a very low rate, not so much that it would put anyone off. I call it success.

Questions, comments? Let's hear them!

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