November 2, 2014 – Thunder and Lightning Chili

20141102_Thunder and Lightning Chili_IMG_8890_edited-1

As you’ve probably noticed, our dinners are based on other people’s recipes. While we try to post a link for every recipe we can, we haven’t yet shared a full recipe on our blog, simply because none of them were hours. This Sunday, however, Tony made his Thunder and Lightning Chili. He adapted this dish from Robert Irvine’s Lightning Chili and Rice feels he’s made enough significant changes to call it our own. Here, Tony shares the recipe and how he made this delicious dish.

Here are the ingredients I used to make my Thunder and Lighting Chili:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of bacon grease

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and stems removed and chopped

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground short ribs

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cans about 16 ounce) kidney (beans

1 can (about 28 ounces) diced tomatoes

First, I heated the vegetable oil and bacon grease in a pan until the grease had melted. The first time I made the chili, I had some bacon grease left over from breakfast, so I used a tablespoon in place of one tablespoon of vegetable oil. (The original recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.) I found it gave the chili a nice, smoky flavor without turning it into “bacon chili”, so I made this part of my recipe. I cooked the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes and then added the garlic and cooked that for about 2 minutes. I added the jalapeno peppers and let them cook for about 3 or 4 minutes and then added the ground beef and ground short ribs. When I was ordering the ingredients for my very first batch of this chili, I saw that Fresh Direct has ground beef short ribs. I decided to use a mix of 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground short ribs, but you can use all ground beef if you like.

After the beef is cooked, you want to drain off as much fat as possible. If you are using short ribs, you’ll probably have a bit more fat to deal with, so make sure you remove as much as you can or your chili will be very greasy. After draining the fat, add the cumin, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper and mix everything together until the meat is evenly seasoned. Last but not least, add the tomato paste, beans, and tomatoes and simmer the chili for about 30 minutes. Cooking it longer is fine too; the flavors will intensify the longer you cook it, but if you’re like me, 30 minutes already feels like way too long to wait!

We served the chili in small bowls and ate it with a side of tortilla chips. We had an avocado in the fridge and Kim had the fantastic idea of garnishing the chili with avocado.

The chili was a good as the first time I made it – rich and satisfying and perfect for a cold fall night. There was just the right amount of jalapenos and chili powder, so the chili had a nice heat, but wasn’t out of control hot. The ground short ribs gave the chili a depth of flavor that I don’t think you can get from ground beef alone. Last but not least, the avocado provided a creamy, cool balance to the chili and was a nice change from the usual sour cream or shredded cheese.

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