Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Early Chili, a recipe straight from my brain to your belly

Step one.
Begin stressing out immediately. This will ease you through the latter part of the process. Eventually you will break down a little, and this early release of stress will pull you through the dark times.

Step 2.
Go to the store, and wander around a little. I do some great thinking in the store, and you can too. Being inspired as to what to make, while surrounded by huge amounts of food, can be overwhelming but also very tasty in the end.
Then go look at the meat.
Straight to the lamb, as this is early chili.
Early as in the style made before it was even close to being called chili.
Somewhere in the Far East.
I think that a half a leg of lamb is perfect.
Buy it. You will have to talk the butcher, who is hopefully sympathetic to your cause,
into cutting it in half for you.
Go straight to the produce.
Get a red and a yellow pepper.
A onion, medium size.
Some ancho, or pablano peppers. You only really need a couple. Of each.
Nice garlic.
Some ripe Roma tomatoes.

Now, this is tricky. And it takes more wandering around, cause it isn't easy to find.
If it is even there.
There are many kinds of stock to use, but for a dish such as I am making, I only see two options. One is chicken stock, which is available anywhere.
The other is demi, which, I haven't found much except when I made it.
Cooking it down stinks to high heaven, and it cooks for a very long time, actually about the length of time it takes to cook this chili.
If you can't find demi, then use some good organic stock, and maybe fine strain it.
If you use the demi, you don't need much really. Once you buy some, you will probably be able to have it around for a long time if you take care of it.
Cumin and chili powder, and the obvious salt and pepper.
Some olive oil.
A good sized can of tomato paste, organic, and another of tomato sauce, organic.
Now, wander around the store some more until you find the finest chocolate you can.
The higher the cocoa bean percentage, the better. And not over sweetened, bitter sweet is best.
Hurry home. Fill the crock pot with water, and turn it onto high.... This is important...
Start cutting up the lamb into nice , smaller chunks. Remove the fat cap from the big chunk. At this point I hope you bought the good half of the leg of lamb....They are different really, and one is much nicer.
Put two pans on the stove. One bigger with some oil in it, not much. One smaller , on med low. Put the tomato sauce, and the tomato paste in one (the one without the oil).
Add salt and pepper, moderately. Here is where I talk about seasoning.
At most every step, from here on out, I season. Salt and pepper. But with moderation.
You will see TV chef's throw a bunch in at once. Not me. Season constantly, as you go. But lightly.

Stir immediately, the start picking up the lamb with a paper towel in your hand. this allows you to dry the chunks, season it, a little , before putting them into the hot oil to brown.
Get all the lamb in, then start cutting the onion. At this point, to make the chili just leap out at the eater, cut all pieces of veggies about the same, 4 or 5 will fit in a spoon size. You want the spoon to be able to contain all parts of the chili. if some is falling off, it isn't going in the mouth.
Throw in the cumin, a nice amount, and some chili powder...
Throw the onion into the lamb. Stir it now, then start cutting the peppers, into the same spoonable size.
Now cut and throw in a bunch of garlic. Season it again.
This is where I tell you about seeds.
Seeds, a lot of them, taste nasty. if you put nasty into your chili, what the hell do you think it is going to taste like?
Stir the tomato sauce, quickly. it is probably starting to stick, so turn it down a little.Season it TO TASTE! (most of those sauces and pastes are pre-seasoned of course.
Quick, stir the lamb again.
Throw the peppers into the lamb. Then start cutting the chili's, and throw them in. (without the vein and the seeds!)
Throw the chili's in, and stir everything.
Now, all the veggies should be in with the lamb. Except the tomato's.
Take the Roma tomato's, and cut them all in half, length wise.
Scoop out the pulp, and throw it away. Salt and pepper them, and throw them into a bowl.
Dump the water out of the crock pot, and add the lamb.
Then add the tomato sauce mix.
Now add the organic chicken stock, or a little demi if you were able to find it.
Dice the Roma tomato's into the same 4 or 5 to a spoon, size.
Throw them into the crock pot.
Now, take the chocolate, and break almost half of it into small chunks, and drop them into the crock pot.
Let it come up to a slow boil, then turn the crock pot onto low.
Leave it alone for about two hours.

Now, after the two hours, go taste it.
If it seems to need a little more kick, then add some more cumin, chili powder, and maybe another pepper.
Leave it alone, on low, for another hour.

Now, turn off the heat.
Fill a big bowl with ice, pour the chili into a smaller bowl, and set both into the fridge, stirring frequently.
Completely cool the chili in this manner. Completely.
Then even, throw it into the freezer for an hour.....

This may seem confusing to you now.
My point here is that you achieve the flavor that left over chili has, by fully cooling, and letting it congeal....

Now, put it back into the crock pot, on high, until it is simmering. Turn it back to low.

At this point in my chili, I made a dangerous decision.
It was 12:45 in the morning, and I got on my bike, and went into NE Portland to have a beer.
That beer turned into two, then three.
Then we left the bar, and went to my friend's house, where we drank from a keg, and, for my first time, played Nintendo WII.
First bowling, then boxing, then even more boxing.. What fun!
All of a sudden, it is 5:15 in the morning, and I still have a big beer in my hand.
I put it down and follow my friend to her house, where we kind of sleep, kinda chat, kinda lay there, already hung over.
Around 11 AM, I wake up with a jolt, get on my phone and ask Bjorn to turn off the chili.
At this point it had been cooking for around 15 hours.
Knowing it was turned off, I laid back down until around 2 PM.
My head hurt, my face hurt, I was wearing these pink velour short shorts, and nothing else.
My friend had left earlier, so I was alone in the house, less than 2 hours from the start of the Mercury Chili cook off!
I raced home, stopping to puke a couple of times.
60 blocks later, I am throwing the chili into the freezer, in a big zip lock bag, covered in ice.
Straight into the shower for me, to shave, and yes, puke some more.
I turned it around, and rolled out the door another 85 blocks to Dee's.
Pretty much spent the afternoon there, wrapped in a blanket, on the couch, watching my chili disappear.
(This is an edit, due to the fact that I wrote this so late last night, while feeling sick as a dog, I feel I may have slighted Dee).
Dee and I decided that he won the Beef chili cookoff, and I won the Lamb chili cookoff.
But, my head hurt so bad, I could not even enjoy either chili much. I ate some of Dee's, and ate some of mine... My taste buds were so destroyed by the effects of last nights alcohol, that everything was off...
Straight home to bed.. For a good long time...

This is the dedication, and the level of OCD, that it takes for me to make chili.
What is a guy to do?


Unknown said...

Dabby we missed our trash day this week. Our can is already full and we have stinky trash in the kitchen that needs to go out. What can we do? Will you come over and make it "go away"
Thanks in advance from every one at the Blitz Haus a.k.a. The Wizard's Chest feat. the DJ Hater D fan club

John said...

I may have fully missed the "in your endo" here, but, really, you live right by the Plaid.
Just dump it in their can......
One man's trash is another man's treaure, that's what I say....

Unknown said...

Dabby the plaid locked their dumpster. please help.

Thanks in advance from everyone at the Blitz Haus a.k.a. The Wizard's Chest feat. Claire and Dee's Brew Club So Pathetic

the-dolomite said...

Dabby, you haven't updated your blog in a week, are you OK?