Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chili for chilly days...

Originally I wanted to post this recipe on Jan 19, while it was still fresh in my mind. However, after "arranging" a surprise party, I ran out of juice. Chili to me is... or, more accurately, something I expected to be spicy. Imagine my disappointment when I dug into my first cup of chili and it was nowhere near Spiciville. But, of course, my first chili was a Wendy's chili, so I shouldn't really complain much.

The next memorable chili I tried was when I traveled to Ohio. It was Skyline chili. I tried only a bit of it, being that I don't eat beef. I loved it and for the first time I wished I could eat beef. It took years until I decided that I would make an exception to my non-beef diet. 

Being me, I couldn't just let it go. If I like something I'd try to recreate it. So this chili recipe is something I created that fits me. It's a little bit on the sweeter side of things, however I find that the combination of sweet and spicy is something more of a marriage made in heaven. The good thing about this recipe is that you can customize it as you like it.

Chili a la Rie

2 lb Fresh sage sausage
1/3 cup diced sweet onion
1/3 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1-1/2 cup water to taste
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
hot substance (I used about 3 - 4 drops of Dave's ghost pepper sauce, but any hot sauce/chili powder/fresh chili will work) and salt to taste

1. Brown the sausage meat. Then crumble the meat using your spatula. 
2. Add diced onion, diced tomato, and diced green peppers. Sautee with the meat until semi-soft.
3. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and add water depending on how thick you want your chili.
4. Add all spice, nutmeg, and clove. Then sift the cocoa powder in. Stir the chili evenly.
5. Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and hot sauce.
6. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly.

1. You'll want to taste the chili. This is a recipe where personal preference matters most. If this is your first time working with all spice/nutmeg/clove or if you don't use those ingredients often, I would suggest adding 1/2 of the measurement above for all spice, nutmeg, and clove. Taste it and add more as you see fit.
2. Cocoa adds to the "meatiness" to it. So don't be "shy" about using cocoa. Just make sure that you sift it and stir evenly. I wouldn't recommend using cocoa bar/chips, though.
3. Salt, sugar, and vinegar may enhance or diminish the taste of all spice, nutmeg, and clove. So always taste the chili after adding salt/sugar/vinegar. Don't be afraid of too much tasting. The first time when I made this, I had to taste it around 20 - 30 times before I got the taste "just right".
4. If you're using beef as substitute meat, you might end up having to add extra all spice, nutmeg, clove, and chocolate. This particular recipe works with ground pork, turkey or chicken, simply because they're what I consider "mild" meat (meaning that they absorbs flavor from their surroundings easily).
5. I like my chili with "texture" so I like more vegetables. Add/substract more tomato, onion, and pepper as you wish. Also, you can substitute green peppers with jalapeno peppers.
6. You can also add about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro for a bit of a Tex-Mex flair. 
7. You can turn this into chili queso dip by combining 1/2 - 1 cup of this chili with 4 oz. cream cheese and 4 oz. sour cream, 1 tbs chopped cilantro, and 3 tbs shredded cheddar cheese.
8. You can eat this straight or turn it to chili dogs. The last time around I made this, people opted to turn it to chili dogs...

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