Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Vegetarian Chick Pea Chili

I am trying to organize my recipe collection.  Over 40 years of scraps of paper scribbled in someone else's handwriting, recipe cards featuring pictures of cornucopia and matronly chickens, photostats from hundreds of cookbooks, printouts from food websites and blogs like this one.  I had one rather successful organization in 1990, using a very rudimentary program to type up and print out most of my recipes, but I never finished it and then things got out of control.  Still, I have all of those recipes, printed out and slipped into sheet protectors and clipped into a couple of extra-large ring binders, to use as a starting point for my ambitious project.  

Not only that, but I have a serious cookbook collection (and that's after weeding out the books I did not use or want anymore) and I have favorite recipes in most of them.  Okay, the truth is that I really want to leave a culinary legacy for my son.  And that means finding all of those favorite cookbook recipes, copying them, and adding them to the ring binders.  

Which means going through all of these cookbooks.  As well as the ones further to the left that didn't fit into the photo.  And the ones on the kitchen counter.  Also those on my night table, in my car, in my office, and on my Kindle reader.  

Going through those books was like opening up a whole lot of presents on Christmas morning.  In addition to the tried and true favorites, I was finding a new generation of recipes that I wanted to try.  This particular recipe, found in a book I must have purchased a good 15 years ago, caught my eye because of it's unabashed inclusion of garbanzo beans.  That was all it took for me to buy the ingredients and test it on my willing family, after I made some substantive changes to suit their taste. 

I realize that sounds kind of nervy, but have you ever read the reviews of online recipes?  The ones that start out "I love this recipe, and so did my husband!  I just substituted shallots for the red onion, and at the end I added nonfat yogurt instead of creme fraiche and I didn't have pork in the house so I used chicken and it was wonderful and thank you for sharing  your recipe."  Read enough of the reviews and you will realize there is an awful lot of tweaking (not twerking) going on, especially among us old cooking dinosaurs (definitely no twerking!)  For us, someone else's recipe is a framework, a suggestion, an idea that has not yet risen to full fruition.

It's not a great picture of the finished product, but when you see the turmeric in the recipe, you'll understand.  It really is quite delicious, and tastes best without any kind of topping or condiment.  But if you just have to pile on the cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, sliced black olives, and homemade guacamole, don't let me stop you.

Not Vegetarian Chick Pea Chili

2 1/4 pounds beef chuck, cut into very small pieces (carne picada, available in Walmart)
2 tablespoons Emeril's Essence
2 large onions (or 1 very large Vidalia), chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large sweet green pepper, chopped
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
1 Anaheim chili, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped*
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons McCormick Dark Chili Powder
2 tablespoons Badia Polvo de Chili Powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika (preferably Hungarian)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup dry red wine
1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-10 oz. can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis (mild or hot)
1-16 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1-16 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Season the beef with Emeril's Essence and set aside.   Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large deep pan.  Add the onion, celery, sweet peppers, Anaheim pepper, and garlic, and sauté just to soften the vegetable.  Add the beef and cook, stirring constantly, until beef is no longer pink.  Drain off any fat and return to the pan.  Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the sherry vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the pan, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for an hour and a half.

After an hour, taste the chili and reseason to taste.  At the end of another half hour, add the sherry vinegar.  Taste and add more if needed.

*Anaheim chili peppers grown in New Mexico are a lot hotter than those grown in California.  You can also add some heat to the chili by leaving the ribs and seeds intact.

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