Foodie in Fort Worth....I must be crazy!
I tried driving to work this morning, but the icy roads and stupid drivers were a nightmare. Finally, after 45 minutes and barely 3 miles from home, all I wanted to do was get my car back home safely.
I parked my car and decided to walk to the supermarket about a half mile from home. Somewhere in the drive to work I had formulated a plan that if I couldn't get to work I'd do my daily 3 mile run on the treadmill and then I would make a pot of turkey chili. I didn't have any ground turkey, but had all the other ingredients.
I couldn't walk on the sidewalk since it was a sheet of ice, so I walked in the parkway and trudged through snowdrifts up to a foot! The wind has been blowing over 30mph and the current temp is 20. The windchill is -2.
But....I'm gonna make a big pot of chili and some jalapeno cornbread. I don't need to run since the trek to the store was quite the workout. I'm thankful I didn't slip on the ice or get knocked down by the wind.
This may not be the best pot of chili I've ever made, but it certainly has taken the most effort!
Sorry to hear that DFW ice driving hasn't improved much in 30 years. Add to that, bizarre highway design like not putting down sun absorbing asphalt on concrete overpasses. Now back to topic ...
A tasty close cousin to chili are some dal dishes. I'm particularly fond of dal makhani due to the unique flavor of whole urad dal lentils. Of course if you don't have urad dal on hand already :-(
I like cast iron skillet cornbread because it is easy to make and tasty:
I've made chicken / turkey chile verde with ground meat but you must mince it quite fine or the texture is wierd:
Phurst, I'm happy I'm back indoors.
ChiliDude, although I'm in TX I eat very little meat and like the protein and fiber that beans add to chili. I normally will drive a ridiculous amount of miles to get ingredients (used to drive 4 1/2 hours to St. Louis from Memphis) but today I didn't want to wreck my car. I just had to use whatever I had in my pantry and would never find your peppers at the corner supermarket. I've recently discovered a chili verde that I love and have in the freezer, but today just needed the red stuff with the tomato base.
I' m tasting the first cup of my chili with some handmade flour torillas as I'm writing this. I may be lazy and forego the cornbread. I know the flavors need to blend.
I agree that some of the fresh chiles are not readily available in local stores. I grow my own ghost peppers. My nephew in Illinois sent some seeds to me a couple of years ago. The ghost peppers take forever to develop pods, but they will ripen after being harvested green. I think the chiles like a much hotter climate than the one where I live.
I also am not a macho chile ingester, I don't eat them straight but combine them with less pungent chiles.
I've always grown fresh herbs on my balcony or patio and late last summer I started growing hard to find items such as daikon sprouts. This Spring I think I'll try growing some different varieties of peppers.
Isn't it true that the climate and altitude can affect the heat of a pepper?
There are several factors that affect the pungency of chiles. Sunlight, day length, water, soil nutrients, but I cannot comment on altitude because I do not know.
Are you planning on starting your plants from seed, or are you planning on buying seedling plants from a nursery. In my case, the choice of seeds and seedling plants is very limited in the area in which I live. I depended upon seed catalogs. However. in recent years I've been saving seeds from homegrown pods. This is an iffy situation because my small garden is susceptible to cross pollination. Oddly, my college degrees are in quantitative genetics, and I am committing genetic heresy by using saved seeds. My curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I've enjoyed seeing and harvesting the results of this heresy. All the chile plants that I grow are extremely pungent.
I've been in communications with some Italian chile growers, and they tend to grow their chiles (peperoncini) in pots, each pot containing a single plant. The Italians share my obsession with these incendiary pods.
Incendiary Texas-Style Chili
(Arrabbiatissimo stufato da Texas dalla carne con peperoncini)
There is no precise recipe for Texas-Style Chili, and the chili cook may have personal preferences of ingredients and measurements. This is a recent batch of chili which is one of the better ones that I have made. The ingredients are not necessarily precisely measured. Nota bene: No beans are used to make Texas-Style chili.
6 or more fresh very pungent chiles (stems and seeds removed)*
2 fresh ghost peppers (Bhut Jolokia)*
3 Ancho peppers, rehydrated (stems and seeds removed)*
3 Pasilla peppers, rehydrated (stems and seeds removed)*
5 pounds of pork loin (beef shoulder or beef round roast cuts may be substituted)
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or lard
1 large onion, diced
6 or more garlic cloves, minced
1 12-oz. bottle of beer
1 8-oz. can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons paprika for color
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 or 3 tablespoons of ‘masa harina’ (finely ground Mexican cornmeal)
*Nota bene: Use the most pungent chiles that you have available if you do not have those included in the ingredient list.
Soak the dried peppers in boiled water for at least an hour. Combine the soaked peppers with the fresh chiles and a small amount of the liquid, and make a puree using an immersible food blender. Put chile puree aside until needed. Save the liquid in case it is needed.
Add the oil to a preheated 5-quart Dutch oven. When the oil shimmers add enough meat to the pot to cover the bottom and slightly sear the meat. Remove each meat addition when seared and set aside on a large plate. Repeat this process until all the meat is seared.
Add the diced onion to the Dutch oven and sauté it. Add the minced garlic when the onion is translucent and allow the garlic to be sautéed. Add the chile puree to the pot along with the tomato sauce, beer, paprika and cumin. Stir the ingredients well.
Add the seared cubes of meat, and stir well. Bring the ingredient to a simmer and allow the chili to cook uncovered for about an hour. Stir the pot often. Add some of the reserved chile liquid if more liquid is needed.
Add the masa harina at the end of the simmering process and stir well. The sauce should be allowed to thicken before the pot is removed from the heat. Set the chile aside for 24-hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend; the chile tastes better.