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Monday, February 1, 2010

Chili when it's Chilly

I'll be honest. This has relatively little reason being in a blog about sports and marching, but I wanted to share it and there's a logical tie-in, so I'm going for it.

While I'll concede that chili is sports food, it never really has been for me. I know it's a tailgating staple for those in colder climates, but most of my tailgating days were spent in Tampa rooting on the Bulls, so I can't say the chili has come out. For that matter, it hasn't been a particularly big deal when watching games either, although a friend of mine, a WVU alum, put together a pretty mean pot when we got together this year for the USF-WVU football game. Even band kids I know have chili stories, of band or corps parents cooking up big old pots for those cold football games, but that wasn't even on my radar.

So when I decided to try my hand--this past weekend while snowed in--I sought guidance. I had bookmarked this post from Tailgating Ideas some time ago for when occasion came to pull it back up. Since I knew I was going to be using black beans, I found this recipe from Food Network's Rachael Ray online. I also incorporated a variation on the "secret ingredient" from One Great Season's recipe (but I'll let you watch for yourself to figure out what that was). From there, it was look at each, pick and choose what I liked and what I didn't, add my own touches and get to work. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Here's how I did it:


1 pkg ground turkey
2 sweet Italian sausages, removed from their casings
1 15 ¼ oz.* can black beans, drained
1 16 oz.* can chick peas, drained
1 14 ½ oz.* can diced tomatoes
1 cup crushed tomatoes/tomato paste
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp Old Bay
¼ package taco seasoning
A couple of generous shakes crushed red pepper
A couple of generous shakes Lawry’s season salt
¾ cup  lager (I used Yuengling)
¼ cup Southern Comfort
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp beef broth
A couple splashes of Texas Pete hot sauce
1 heaping tbsp ricotta cheese

*different companies package their canned beans and vegetables differently, so get the size closest to that size--"Campbell's Soup Can" size, roughly.

Before beginning: Combine seasonings. Combine beer, SoCo, worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and hot sauce.

Brown turkey and sausage in the bottom of a large pot on medium heat. Once browned, add liquid mixture and chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add tomato paste and stir until well incorporated. Add diced tomatoes, black beans, and chick peas; mix thoroughly. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Finally, add ricotta cheese and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Continue to cook for an additional half hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve. 

I don't claim to have mapped the chili genome here, but I'd say it turned out pretty damn good. If it gives you one more option for your Super Bowl party, I've done my job.
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