I am a wannabe foodie, meaning that I love all sorts of foods and I love trying all sorts of new foods, but I don’t have the sophistication to recognize the nuances of all the flavor profiles…yet.  While fancy dinners are fun, they are costly and if you focus solely on those high-end establishments, you will miss out on all sorts of delicious dishes.  Someday when we retire, I’d love to open up a restaurant with my husband and then I will have the credentials to be a true food snob, but in the meanwhile, I’ll start to share some of my favorite recipes here.  If you happen to try them, please let me know what you think.  If you make your own versions, I’d love to hear what you changed.  I’m always looking for ways to adjust recipes to see what I like better.

I normally prefer Texas chilli since I’m not really big on beans and I don’t like to go heavy on the tomatoes, but my brother-in-law had passed on a fantastic recipe that I could rework to my preferences.  With the cold weather coming up around the corner, comfort foods come to mind so I thought I’d share this with you as my first food post.  This is a very flexible recipe and easy to modify, so I’ll give you both the original version and my tweaks.

Original:

3 lbs. ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups beef stock
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup cornmeal
 

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic over medium heat. Once browned, remove any extra liquid in the pot and return the beef to the pot.

2. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, beans, seasonings and cornmeal, stirring well. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.

My Crock Pot Version

2 lbs. ground turkey
1 lb bacon
½ large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups beef stock
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup cornmeal
 

1.  Slice or cut (I use kitchen shears) the bacon into bits.  You’ll want it to be large enough to have a presence in the chilli but not so large that it’s overpowering.  I go with 2-3 cm pieces and just use the full width of the bacon.  Render the bacon on medium heat to crisp, stirring occasionally.  Once the bacon is crispy, add the onions and garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes to soften the onions.  Add the turkey and mix well.  Cook until the meat is browned.

2.  Rinse the pinto and kidney beans and put them in the crock pot.  Add all the other ingredients (tomato sauce, beef stock, seasonings, turkey mix, and corn meal) and mix well.  You can get away with cooking this on low for 2 hours, but I like it better after 4.  Skim the excess fat off the top before you stir and serve.

I love slow cooker recipes because you can prep them while you’re making dinner the night before and put it in the refrigerator.  The next morning you can program the crock pot before you go off to work and you have a hot meal waiting for you when you come home.  I’m going to end this here because both World Series Baseball and Notre Dame football are on and I’ve got the smell of this chilli beckoning to me from the kitchen.  My husband is screaming at the TV for the Irish and my daughter is rooting for the Giants to take game 3 of the series.  Béile blasta dhuit!

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