Thursday, January 24, 2013

mom's chili

when mike and i were dating and engaged, i spent a lot of time at his parents' house - mom and pop were always welcoming.  so this story won't make sense unless you view it through the lens of a girl newly dating this great guy, with all the silly insecurities that can come with a new relationship.

i remember one evening i was hanging out in the basement with mike while he finished his stat homework.  when we came upstairs for dinner, the entire floor smelled fabulous!!!  mom had made chili.  not just any chili - HER chili.  and the reason i remember all of this so particularly was because it was the first time that i was "brave" enough to go for seconds......for some reason, i felt comfortable to bring my slippers over and wear sweats - but somewhere in my brain, going for seconds at dinner was intimate enough to be taboo.

not that night.  the chili was tooooo good.  i think my only concern was that andrew would finish off the pot before i could finish my first bowl and dash across the kitchen for more!

naturally, i begged mom decarlo for the recipe, and it has been my "safe" meal ever since.  you know, when you need to make something for company that you don't want to take any risk on??  that's this for me....especially since it lends itself easily to making large batches.  i now make this annually for dinner the night before thanksgiving for the black family, because they're as in love with it as i am.

note 1: the first time i made this recipe myself, i made a weeeeeee little mistake.  i swapped cayenne pepper in for chili powder.  fortunately, i halved the amount i added because it was becoming so much spicier than i'd remembered.  i've experimented a little bit since then, and the recipe below is as i make it now.  however, because mom's original version is golden, i wanted you to have the opportunity to make it purely based on that - to do so, swap out the cayenne pepper below for 6 t chili powder.

note 2: this chili is sweet and tangy; if you prefer your chili to just be beefy, this probably won't work for you!  it has a slightly sweet taste on the front end, with the spice heating you about a second after.  depending on how much cayenne pepper you use, it can be a powerful blaze!  ;-)  when serving to my family, i have my brother bring some of his favorite hot sauces so that everyone can "heat" it to their preference.

mom's chili

1 medium onion, minced
2 lbs ground beef
2/3 c ketchup
1/2 c water
2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t worchestershire
1 1/2 t salt
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 t dry mustard
45 oz. kidney beans (drained)
3 c tomato juice
2 t cayenne pepper

1.  in large pot, saute onion until it is clear.
2.  add the ground beef to the pot, and cook fully.
3.  add all other ingredients.  adjust heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.

this soup freezes well - i can't remember the last time that i didn't double or triple this recipe.  enjoy!!

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