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Old 08-14-2005, 02:19 PM   #1
 
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Is Chili A Soup?

I'm just here because there are no posts in "soup" and I figured why not start something?

Alton Brown on "Good Eats" did two programs: one on chilis the pods, and a second on chili the soup/stew dish -- without beans.

So, I made some chili, without beans. I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

Brown insists that "chili powder" you buy in the grocery is worthless stuff, but my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) has packages of chilis in the Mexican food area. There are fresh peppers in the produce section, but I'm not going to the bother of roasting a Jalpeno to get a Chipotle.

Elsewhere Brown uses prepared ingredients -- salsa, canned tomato, ale (cheap ale), tortilla chips. My chili powder comes in an envelope off the rack.

Moving on --

Chili is about "cheap cuts." I did pork and beef. Brown uses lamb too, but lamb is not cheap, and I've never had lamb in my life. I left it out.

Basically I headed to the butcher and bought the cheapest cuts of pork and beef in the shop. Stew beef, and bonless pork ribs. I cubed these and seared/browned them in a large stainless pot. Small batches for searing/browning, don't crowd the meat. About 3 lbs total. Set aside.

Then de-glaze the pot. Add ale, about a 12 oz can, and work the glaze from the meat browning off the surface of the pan with a wooden spoon (so as not to scratch the stainless steel). Since all these ingredients end up in the same pot and "stew" for hours and hours -- you can add tomato paste, and salsa to the pot to de-glaze. Acid is the key to deglazing here.

I used Pace Picante, about a pint -- because I like it and because CostCo sells it in huge bottles. It's a "picante" -- vinegar and acid. I also tossed in an 8 oz bottle of Chipotle sauce that I found in the 99 cent store. A can of tomato paste -- more acid.

Then I toss in chili powder. The stuff I use is the Mexican style with the seeds. It's the same chili you find in the shaker at the pizza palor I believe. Cumin, I tossed in a jalpeno "escabeche" (pickled) -- which I get canned.

I added green pepper -- which is technically a chli, and a yellow onion -- or three. I like onions, your taste may vary.

Go easy on the chili peppers! You can add more later, but you can't remove them if you get too much heat!

Interesting here -- traditional chili uses masa harina. In espanol "masa" is "dough" and masa harina is corn flour dough, used to make corn tortillas. Brown uses corn tortilla chips, about three handfuls. This is ample salt for the whole pot of chili. I suppose you could use corn tortillas and salt to taste. Or search the shelves for masa harina.

Cover and bring the whole mix to a low simmer for somewhere between a couple hours and a full day. I like to cook this chili until the meat breaks down and no longer consists of cubes. I stir about every half hour. Stirring lets me check the progress, adjust the burner if needed, check seasonings.

Alton Brown notes that chili should be served in a bowl three times the width as deep. I think any soup bowl will do.

Condiments include but are not limited to: tomatoes. oinions, cheese, peppers, salsa, sour creme . . .

Personally, I view chili as an ingredient for tortillas. Corn, rolled and baked w/ salas, cheese, etc. This is an enchilada. With corn chips -- instead of a spoon. Flour tortilla, wrapped w/ veggies, condiments -- a burrito (literally "little burro" a pack animal).

Chili is a nice compliment to a BBQ. And it freezes well.

My chili probably won't win the Great Texas Chili Cookoff, but it works for me, and I enjoy the process.

So, is it a "soup" ???

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Old 08-14-2005, 03:41 PM   #2
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I consider chili a one-pot-meal. I wouldn't call it a soup nor a stew - it's just, well, chili!

I personally wouldn't consider a chili without beans being a soup anymore than I would consider chili with beans being a soup - it's again, to me anyway - a one-pot-meal.

Lamb is wonderful - make a rosemary/Dijon sort of pesto and put over lamb (I've posted a recipe somewhere here - I think in an Easter thread a loooong time ago). VERY nice stuff.

Or...buy a small amount of chops (places like Sam's Club or Cotsco are good sources) - make a sort of gremolata - fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, (dried rosemary and thyme are pretty good so those will do fine too) kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper - finely mince everything together and add a bit of olive oil for spreadability. Spread on each side and set aside for about 15 or so minutes and grill for just a few minutes on each. Medium rare is best. I like mine leaning towards the rare side.

Now that was waaay off topic but I just wanted to give you a simple recipe for the lamb - simple or not - it's wonderful!
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:14 PM   #3
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FYI, "picante" means spicy or peppery. It does not refer to the amount of acidity in a dish.
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:40 PM   #4
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Its just Chili. Trust me.
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:58 PM   #5
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Moved to the Soup sub forum under Soups, Stews, and Casseroles versus the Soup sub forum in the Canning forum.
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Old 08-14-2005, 06:36 PM   #6
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I consider chili to be more of a stew. My dad liked it with more liquid though, and his was more like a soup. The chili cookoffs I've cooked in have always been a contest of cubed meat and sauce. The judges are very biased against chunks of any kind (other than the meat), and there are no beans in cookoff chili. I always use chuck, or stew meat, because it's tender after long cooking times. A lot of chili cooks were using round and London broil, which makes for a very tough bowl of red after a couple hours on the stove. I love making chili - have done it for years and have gotten pretty good at it after all this time if I do say so myself. It's fun to try different combinations of ingredients to see what you come up with.

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Old 08-14-2005, 06:53 PM   #7
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Now in proper Chili sub forum

Does anyone else see an "aurora" around this subject?
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Old 08-14-2005, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueCat
I consider chili to be more of a stew. My dad liked it with more liquid though, and his was more like a soup. The chili cookoffs I've cooked in have always been a contest of cubed meat and sauce. The judges are very biased against chunks of any kind (other than the meat), and there are no beans in cookoff chili. I always use chuck, or stew meat, because it's tender after long cooking times. A lot of chili cooks were using round and London broil, which makes for a very tough bowl of red after a couple hours on the stove. I love making chili - have done it for years and have gotten pretty good at it after all this time if I do say so myself. It's fun to try different combinations of ingredients to see what you come up with.

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My family other than me just has to have beans. Ughhhhh!
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Old 08-14-2005, 07:46 PM   #9
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Dont forget to make a good side of cornbread or flour tortillas for southwest style.YUMMY
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jpmcgrew
Dont forget to make a good side of cornbread or flour tortillas for southwest style.YUMMY
I like my chili with gresh corn tortillas, thank you very much. But then again, a flour tortilla filled with some refried beans, shredded sharp=cheddar cheese, and some good chilli, well that's almost as good as a carne asada burrito.

And you need only look at the picture in one of my chili threads to know how I like my chili.

But as was also said in one of those threads, and I can't remember by whom, chili is a very personal thing. And everyone has their own favorit way of making it. Chili made the way you like it is the best chili, no matter what the judges, or your Aunt Bertha say or think.

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