Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mom's Chili Recipe

My mom's chili was always the best. Mine's not too shabby, either (I make mine with steak instead of ground beef, and I use more tomatoes than Mom did), but I made Mom's the other night, which is a more traditional, meatier kind.

Mom's Chili

2 pounds ground round
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces water (fill the empty tomato sauce can with water)
1 tablespoon chili powder (I use a little more than that)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Brown the ground beef with the onion, pepper and garlic. Drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients, except for kidney beans. Simmer slowly for about 45 minutes (or you can put it in a crock-pot for 4-6 hours on low). Add beans and heat through. For hotter chili, increase cayenne pepper and/or chili powder.

Personally, I add about double the chili powder, and a touch more cayenne. To temper the heat, you can add sugar. But really, the best way to do this is to start low on the heat, let it cook a bit, taste it, then add a little more. Don't add a ton and then try to take it back--it's harder to subtract heat than add it ;-). I also like my chili just a bit more tomato-y, so I also add a can of those Petite Diced Hunts tomatoes. You can get them flavored, Mexican, or Onion and Garlic. I just add whatever I have on hand.

Every day, I miss my mom, even though she's been gone more than two years now. I miss talking to her, mostly. She was really good at advice. She used to sing--she took singing lessons for a while--and every time I hear one of the songs she sang (she did mostly 70s hits, the ones made popular by Burt Bacharach, et al.), I get all emotional. Sometimes I can sing along; sometimes I have to change the station. Either way, I can make her chili on a chilly weekend night, and feel, for a little while, like I'm back home at her dinner table.


1 comment:

  1. I miss my mother, too, Shirley. She died fifteen years ago, just a month after my first book was published, from breast cancer.

    Today I had my regular mammogram check (which I hate!) and she was very close.

    Thanks for sharing your Mom's recipe and telling us about her.


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