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Old 10-20-2004, 11:25 PM   #1
 
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Chili recipe per Audeo's request

Chili is one of the most fun things to cook, because every person, and every "ethnic" area has its own versions of what is "chili", and what is it supposed to look and taste like.

Okay, I'm from Canada, and we probably to it a lot different from the American Southwest, and seldom get involved in the famous chili cookoffs, let alone win any, but lets be real, and think about coming home from work, and making dinner thats good, and go from there (and in so doing, forgive me the "heresies" I am about to record!)

Start with a cast frying pan and about 1.5 lbs of regular ground beef, and cook, slowly, shaking the meat apart

(Variations: a pound of Stewing beef; cubed sirloin, a quarter pound of ground lamb, or moose, or deer, more if you like it stronger tasting for meat)(added to the basic ground meat)

Drain the meat when cooked, and evacuate it to a large stewing pot...add Chili Powder to taste, and Tex Mex seasoning from ClubHouse...

Reducing heat to a simmer+, add 16 oz of Classico Sicilia Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti Sauce, and at least one can of tomato paste, mixing well...

One large yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

one twelve ounce can of drained red kidney beans

2 stalks of celery, sliced very finely

(keep stirring as you go!)

A green pepper (sweet) or red pepper (also sweet) hulled, cored, seeded, and diced...

(Variations: I like the texture of the sweet pepper in the chili, but will typically add 2 jalopeno's, VERY finely chopped, with the seeds and ribs removed, and, well, we call them "Hot Cherry Peppers" here, but 6-8 of them, again hulled deveined and seeded, cut in halves or thirds...if I was going to make it "hot" I'd take two haleberno's, and core, devein and de-seed, place in a mesh bag and fish it through, stirring it around for ten minutes then pull them out and discard them)...

I don't have a crock pot, which is a pity, as the longer this stews together, the better it seems to get, but I'd serve this after cooking about an hour on the low heat, covered...

To accompany it, some fresh sourdough buns with margerine and kosher dill pickles...

Obviously, this is a "rough guide" and you have to keep tasting as you go to keep a balance to it; I like the sweet pepper to be a bit crisper than this recounting would seem to suggest, but the onions fully cooked out and the celery somewhere in between...

I must reflect that this is one of the "healthier" recipes when you think about protein, dietary fibre and "traces"...but I would certainly be interested in the comments that might come back...

Lifter

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Old 10-21-2004, 08:05 AM   #2
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Lifter, I thank you!!!! And my sincere compliments on the very nice preface to this recipe...should keep me and others off the Chili Warpath!!!

Having already established that you wouldn't be scaring me with the addition of peanut butter, or something like that, I was crossing my fingers that pasta wouldn't be included. And you didn't dissappoint me in the least!!

This looks very good to me, especially with game meat -- oh, how I'd love to tear into some of that! I did cringe slightly over the use of spaghetti sauce....oregano, basil....but I'm game! I'd bet I'd like this.

Now....about that Chili Warpath thing....

Chili is a Texas creation, a Texas invention, and a Texas tradition. It was created as a cheap food for cowboys, one that could easily be made while riding the hard trails, and that would also travel well. In other words, it was quick and easy to make, but could be made to serve lots of people over a long period of time. Following the herds across country, a group of cowboys could start a pot of chili, and continually add meat scraps and fat to the pot over the weeks as they traveled--and it only got better as the trail went on.

If you google "Texas Chili", you're overwhelmed by billions of seemingly authentic recipes for the stuff. And you, Lifter, eloquently explained why: different folks like different flavors. But, if anyone's interested, I have a recipe from favored Texas Governor Ann Richards (an avid hunter, by the way, Lifter) that came, she said, from the hidden coffers of our historic archives.....!

Thanks for posting this one for me, Lifter! Sure sounds good to me!

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Old 10-21-2004, 12:04 PM   #3
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Count me interested Audeo. I would love to see your recipe.
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Old 10-21-2004, 11:16 PM   #4
 
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"Wild" meat might be hard for you to access down there Audeo, unless you pick up the rifle and "do it yourself", which is hardly as easy as it purports to sound...

So to give yourself a bit of a taste of what its like, IF you cannot easily access buffalo meat that you can either cube or grind, lamb or mutton would be the next choice, as the latter two are pretty "strongly flavoured" compared with aged beef, which the "scraps and pieces" tossed into the mix were certainly not!

The beef of the day was grass fed, and hardly a product of a finishing lot, and running it from Texas to Chicago on the hoof hardly improved the tenderness or fat content...(validating my point on buffalo meat!)

Anyways, if you want to get back to reconstructing the "genuine" flavour of what these guys were caused to feed on, its a point worth remembering that "fresh killed beef" is VERY different from what you buy at the meatmarket and may put you into the "porcelain-pressing" side of things for a day or three after...

Can recall a funny story from the Army, in '71, on a range, where the PFRA range fed their cattle on the Army Training areas, and a couple of them were dum enough to venture out on our live fire range...

The "defaulters of the day" were caused to dig a very deep pit, to lose the beef innards, the ensuing field BBQ was fantastic (not a rancher within a mile!) but man! We were all convinced that the ration packs had been dosed with saltpeter to bung us up, and this was making us "let go"!

The ration packs were innocent...it was the "fresh killed" stuff...

LOL!

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Old 10-24-2004, 07:09 AM   #5
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Lifter, I love reading your posts! I am making chili tomorrow. No game meat, sadly. I am from the Adirondacks, and we used to have deer in the freezer, but Florida is a whole 'nuther story, unless you count road kill.

Keep the recipes coming.
:D
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:08 AM   #6
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"Grass fed"?

I was fortunate enough to never have eaten anything other than grass fed meat before coming to the USA.

In Ireland where grass is plentiful and rich, due in no small measure to the rain (which is also plentiful!), we would never dream of feeding cattle corn as Americans do.

Cattle cannot digest corn as their stomachs are not designed for it and the poor things get indigestion. I read somewhere that half of the indigestion products made in America are fed to Texas cattle!

Anyway, I often long for the taste of a sweet Irish steak that does not require smothering in sauce to make it palatable! Perhaps the meat is not hung long enough? Any ideas anybody?
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:15 PM   #7
 
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Hi Keen!

I've never been to Ireland, nor have I ever "knowingly" eaten Irish beef product, so can't say what it would be in the feeding, slaughter or hanging of "your" meat that would make it different from "ours" in N America.

That being said, here in Canada, as there is no standardised grading method that all must adhere to (and you can easily buy ungraded beef, some of which isn't too bad, BTW!), there areat least 39 "grades" of beef offered commercially to today's grocery shopper...depending on the variety of your shopping venues.

I can't speak for the USA, but suspect the same is true.

Here, animals are usually (but not always! Not "Alix's" posts about eating 4H raised beef that she claims to be the best!)(hand fed and raised, sort of like Japanese Kobe beef in that aspect) ranched on grassy, if arid, plains, and then "finished" in a "feeder lot" operation where they are sort of cooped up and fattened up, eating "cake" (an oat based feed mixture?) and then taken to auctions, where the various butchers, packers, and retailers that do their own slaughter/hang/cut operations will bid on them.

This is an important step in the process, as I doubt any of us could separate a "Black Angus" hind from a "Holstein" hind, and the breed of cattle is important. Likewise, steers will always taste better than cows, and these very important "bidders" at the auctions are the ones "deciding" what you'll be buying...

The packers catering to a restaurant buyer base will be very choosy buyers indeed...after all, if you and designated other go out for dinner to a steakhouse or prime rib dinner, and pay $25 (or more!) a plate, and the meat tastes like an "anthrax threat", you are going to be plenty tee'd off, and never appear there again (and tell everyone you know!), with adverse effects to the restauranteur and staff...so they will be using their very expert knowledge to select the very best animals, even if this means paying "above the odds" for them...

At the other end of the spectrum are the bidder/buyers for Mickey Dee's, Fuddruckers, Wendy's etc...who "move " vast quantities of "beef" as hamburger...I can recall a "Fuddrucker's Restaurant 20 years ago, where they bragged on how you could watch their butchers bone and mince their "beef"...but do I believe this was "premium" beef? Why would they be grinding all those steaks and roasts into burger meat, if the meat was any good?

They are bidding against the lowest bids of all, coming from Dr Ballards, etc (ie pet food makers!), who have few if any compunctions about quality, even if there remain desparately poor people, seniors, etc with pensions so small they are purported to be eating fried up cat or dog food...

Anyways, in the middle of the pack ate the bidder/buyers for the big grocery chains...A+P, Safeway, etc etc...and they are buying the best they can get at their dollar, as they can "dump"any excess (usually, or unttil the USA closes its borders!) in a "sale", where hapless consumers will flood in, buy whatever at a discounted price, freeze it and blame the results on freezer burn or whatever...

And when you consider that there is no "bovine graveyard" for the countless herds of milk cows, for the cattle in those milk herds "born male" (wrong sex means you're a liability, and sold off quick)...the other end is when good old "Bessy" stops giving high quality milk, or stops giving milk, or the herd is too big for the feed available, and the elderly females are sold off to the meat industry, you'll quickly appreciate that buying cheap meat is apt to result in poor returns at the table...

Okay, lets go to processing...

Its possible to eat "fresh killed beef", of course, but the results to the metabolism is fairly drastic...expect the "runs!"

And the meat will be very tough, no matter what the cut (aside from organ meats, which are better "fresh"...liver, for instance, can allegedly be eaten "warm" from the animal...)

So you hang it to tenderise it...

The high end packers will hang beef for at least 21 days, and for the very top end "Ruth Chriss" steakhouses, probably up to 28 or 35 days...and this steak/roast will be "fork-tender"...but as meat shrinks in weight as you continue hanging, you may lose up to 20%, or 25% of mass, and you bought it by the pound! So this drives the price way up, explaining why good restaurant steak is more expensive, in part...

The grocers look at it differently again...it costs a bunch to have those big walk in fridges to hang beef, and after 14 days, its more or less edible, and, it can "age" in the tray pack in the fridge display until you, the consumer, buy it...so buying it just before "expiration date" may give you better results than a "fresher" package...but remember, the grocery bought the lowest price for the most mark-up!..This may well be "cow" as opposed "steer"!

We'll try not to dwell on what Mickey Dee's and Wendy's are doing in their vast processing plants, with their carcasses...

(As a casual aside, I served with the Cdn Army in Western Canada, but took a number of courses in Atlantic Canada...you quickly learned to line up behind the "Newfies" in the mess hall...can recall one instance before I learned this "Golden Rule", when the choice was "T-Bone Steak, Fish and Chips, or Bolgna Sandwiches"-it was a Sgts Mess, obviously! The Jr Ranks ate worse, and the Offices only somewhat better, until Generals came around!-anyways, fool that I am, it was obvious to order T-Bone, which when served, was inedible...tasted like goats smell...our Newfoundlander compatriot, happily munching his way through a supper of "double grease", said (I will translate from "Newfie-speak") that HE was eating haddock, that was fresh from Digby NS, 50 miles away, that was probably swimming yesterday, and fried potatos from PEI...whereas we were eating the cheapest USA cornfed beef that could be accessed by a penurous "System"..and subsequently ate whatever he decided was fit for consumption, even if this meant some pretty ghastly fish recipes...)

Okay, so where do you get the "good" beef?

Well, at a grocery, you will likely note that there are the "meat tubs" with "tray packed" steak, which is the sort of standard offering, and there is the butcher's line, where you probably take a number/stand in line for service...and the price per pound is higher...this would be the place to go...

If its labelled "Angus" meat, here in Canada, that means its a premium breed of animal, and the difference is incredible...

After that, you get into the issue of what particular steak or cut you are after, and "which" steak of two, or several, to select (NY Strip is funny like this, you look at the collagen (unmeltable fat) and where the gristle is (there are a couple separate muscles here, and the gristle, of course, is "inedible"...a little knowledge makes things better in knowing to look for the cut with the least, and plase transfer this knowledge to selection of "prime rib" or "standing rib" as well! That "blob of "collagen" doesn't cook out or dissolve, doesn't taste good, and adds nothing to the flavour of the cut...

On the other hand, little tiny "flecks" of "white" throughout the meat are "fat" in its understood sense, and this is entirely desireable!

There are marinades and techniques that will assist you further in cooking a steak up well...I've been told what the "Keg" chain apparently does with their steaks to make them that bit more attractive and tasty, but we can get into that elsewhere...

I've written this as a bit of educational tool in buying your meat to you keen kook, and other readers, and will welcome both comment and criticism, as buying the stuff is the first and most important step in getting the best results...

If you start off with "crappy" meat, its challenging to get things any better...if you start with really "fine" meat, its hard to screw it up (Sorry Elf/MJ etal, that just slipped out, but I'll let it stand!)

Lifter
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:45 AM   #8
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Lifter's post

Wow Lifter that must be the most detailed answer I have seen since I started visiting these pages (I am new here)!

I will refer to this again as the poor quality of meat in the USA has been a bone of contention since I arrived here nearly 4 years ago (pun intended!) :)

In the UK we call it Aberdeen Angus and it is only **slightly** better than our standard beef.

Cattle are not allowed into the human food chain once they get over 30 months old or if they have received antibiotics. We do NOT use "growth hormones" such as "Angel Dust" as these are proven to have adverse effects onn human consumers.

I spole with my brother-in-law back in N Ireland and he said those hanging times you quoted were far too short for quality meat. He said that he would not use it for cat food let alone humans!

Thank you for taking so much time to answer me, it was very interesting and informative and I shall be watching to see what others post in reply.
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:23 AM   #9
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Re: "Grass fed"?

[quote="keen kook"]
Anyway, I often long for the taste of a sweet Irish steak that does not require smothering in sauce to make it palatable! quote]

hiya keen kook,
irish meats and dairy certainly are superior to the average product in the us, but you can get good meats and cheeses here if you try. i was in leitrim and mayo in the spring of '03, and had some of the best steaks and pork dishes (with boiled spuds and 2 veg of course, lol) i've ever eaten in my life. also, the dairy products are imho the best in the world. i love irish cheddar, and you haven't had a cream soup or buttered colcannon until you've had it made with irish cream and butter. i was a bit dismayed tho when i saw many irishmen ordering all cuts of steak well done! it seemed like such a waste for such good meat, but supposedly, that's just the irish way...
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:19 PM   #10
 
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Thanks, BuckyTom, for an American view of "Irish Beef" products, including dairy!

I'm hoping "keen kook" will respond with what his/her BIL "believes" is a correct "hanging time" is for beef (or pork!) that advances it beyond the "cat food" point in consumption!

(And will buy a chunk of steer, and request/require it be hung a like length of time, to test this out!)

Keen Kook, could you kindly go on with your advice on "Irish Beef"? Seems like you and/or your Brother in Law (ie BIL) could give us some good advice on cooking, that we'd all be at least "happy" to receive!

A few "treats" for you in return, PM mesage me and lets see if I cannot arrange for you to get your hands on some genuine buffalo/bison meat, which tastes a whole bunch different and better than the standard "beef" offering...

For anyone else following this thread, and looking for "wilder" tasting meats, well "emu" has fallen into disfavour, but is a thought if you cannot get hold of deer/moose/caribou/elk meat...

Likewise pheasant, goose, duck, wild meat will give very different results from the farm fed types...

Again, "keen kook", you might try contacting "Alix" direct, and gain access to "4H" beef, this might most closely get to at least the "farming methods" you have implied, even if this is "buying it off the back of a truck", which we frown on here...

Lifter
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