Tag Archives: asters

OPEN-A-CAN STYLE THREE-BEAN CHILI

This is my sixth post about chili, although three of those have been about chili competitions. Why, you are probably asking. am I writing another?

First, it is the beginning of chili season. Around our house, the groves of aspen are beginning to color the mountainsides with great patches of golden-yellow. Closer to home, the chamisas (aka rabbit brush) are a matching golden-yellow, and the shrubs fill the country side. Unfortunately, they also elicit a characteristic allergy season. Purple asters fill in the bare spots between the chamisas while spikes of purple gay feather brag in clumps around the yard and the trailsides. Purple and gold are a beautiful combination of color that makes autumn around here so spectacular, never mind the reds and bronzes of the sumacs and the deciduous trees.

Second, the Terlingua chili competitions are only a month or so away. I’m sure my friend, Reggie, has been cooking in contests all summer long so that he has enough points to enter the competition. I hope that he plans to go because he has so many friends and fellow chili cooks who go to the big celebration

Third, there must be an infinite number of chili recipes, and I believe that the home cook can never have too many chili recipes. This, of course, excludes the entire mystique of Cincinnati two-way, three-way, four-way and the ultimate five-way chili. This recipe is particularly simple. Except for the meat and the onions, it is simply a matter of opening cans and dumping them all together. I admit that I made things a little more complicated by buying the best grade of stew meat I could find and cutting it into ¼ inch pieces. That’s what competition cooks did many years ago until someone using ground beef won the Terlingua contest. Since that tectonic event they have almost all switched to ground beef. You can do that, too, and then the recipe becomes even easier. I have used three different beans (definitely NOT a component of competition chili) to make the visual effect of the finished product more interesting. The seasonings are only a guide. In particular, use as much chili powder – 2 or even 5 tablespoons – to suit your taste and your tongue.

RECIPE

Open-a-Can Style Three-Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) beef stock + more if needed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (not ground chiles)
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the stew neat into ¼ inch cubes. Sauté in the oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot over high heat, cooking until released water is boiled off and the meat is browned. Remove the meat to a plate and return the pot to the stove over medium heat.
  2. Sweat the onions in the heated oil, covered, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Return the browned meat to the pot.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, beef stock, beans, chili powder, oregano, and cumin.  Bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce heat to the simmer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more beef stock if the chili becomes too dry.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour. Serve while still hot.

 

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CHANGE OF SEASONS – CHANGE OF MENU

There is no doubt that summer is over, and fall is here. The nights have become cooler, and I need a jacket when I go out for the morning paper. Things have changed at the farmers market, too. Apples are beginning to appear. Tomatoes are at their abundant peak, but you can tell that the vendors are anticipating their crops to diminish.

Or landscape and garden are sending the same message. Robins have come back from wherever they were hiding out this summer. Other birds have begun to show up, and some of the humming birds have left, although there is still a lone rufous at the feeder. We have seen all sorts of spiders weaving their webs for the last time. A huge orb spider is hanging out near the front door. A hive of honey bees has swarmed on our roof. We are excited about that because their numbers have been in decline, although I read in the paper that bee colony decline appears to be receding.  An enormous bumble bee is a constant visitor to a hollyhock in the back yard. A praying mantis was lurking at the front door yesterday evening.

There is no snow yet on the mountains, but you can see the first color of the aspens, and the aspens in our yard have taken on the golden edge that they always get before they become a blazing gold. Asters, crown beard, and rabbit brush have turned the arroyos a spectacular mix of purple and gold.

Time to start thinking about stews, soups, gumbo, and the rich dishes of winter. They can’t be far away.

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