Saturday, November 20, 2010

Locavore Challenge - Day 5 potluck

I braved the Whole Foods on a Saturday just to make chili. I must have lost a bit of my mind, but I really wanted to make chili. So 1 hour, 3 ingredients and about $11 later, I headed home to chop and cook my butt off.

Local hodgepodge chili
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of chuck steak, cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
ground cumin
ground allspice
ground cinnamon
granulated garlic
4 cascabell chilies
chili flakes
2 bay leaves
ground cayanne pepper
ground ginger
smoked paprika
dried Mexican oregano
1/2 lb mushroom, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken stock (probably too much, but I needed to use it - I made it last Sunday)
2 pints of homemade pureed tomatoes

1. Brown the chuck. Remove from pan then brown the ground beef. Remove that from the pan.
2. Toast the spices (add more oil if you don't have enough from the beef renderings)
3. Throw in the onions and allow them to sizzle on HIGH.
4. Throw in the mushrooms. Let them cook a bit too.
5. Add the beef back into the pot.
6. Throw in the garlic, stock and tomato puree.
7. Stir, let simmer and the cover and PRESSURE COOK for 2 hours.
Cool, taste, re-season - mostly for salt and add hot sauce if you feel daring. YOU FEEL DARING

This might be the best chili I have ever made. I am not joking. Better than my 2nd place chili at the Abbey Lounge's Chili Cook-Off of 2008.
Normally I throw in a beer, or cocoa, but I don't think it needs it.
I through in the mushrooms as a stretcher - instead of beans - and they seam to work out nicely.

I don't think this could be easier, well if you owned a food mill it would be faster.
Quarter and remove the seeds of apples (as many as you like) leave the peels on, it will give a pink hue to your sauce
1-2 tbsp water

1. Put the apples and the water into a sauce pan.
2. Cover and cook over high heat until the apples become soft.
3. Mash with the back of a spoon or fork.
4. Remove the apple peels.

Applesauce Cornbread
2 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup apple sauce (see recipe)
1/4 cup oil
1 - 1 1/2 cup water

1/4-1/2 tsp salt
3 medium eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350F
1. Combine the corn meal, apple sauce, oil, water, salt and egg yolks in one bowl. Stir to combine - you are looking for a thick cornbread batter. If you scoop it up it should fall in plops off your spoon - not wet enough to form ribbons. The applesauce is going to make it chunkier than normal - fret not.
2. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to a soft peak. (If you have farm fresh eggs this is going to take a lot of muscle.)
3. In three additions, add the egg whites into the cornmeal batter, by folding them in.
4. Pour into a greased baking dish. (I used and 8x8 but that was really tight. I would use a bigger one next time so it has some room to rise on the sides more)
5. Put in the oven, lower the temp to 325F. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This took about an hour for me, but the oven couldn't keep a temp and I had to futze a bunch. 

Disclaimer - if I was able to use a leavener I would have. Whipping egg whites brought me back to my day's working in kitchens and realizing how much arm strength I have loss. I laughed at the thought of pulling out a mixer to whip 3 medium egg whites, but oh I thought about it, twice.

The cornbread was a little sweet-tart. On its own it was ok, but it was fantastic with the chili. It really helped to balance out the heat. It was appreciated at the pot luck and no one missed the non-local nor the gluten.

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