I spent yesterday at an event run by the Snake River Brewing Club, the homebrewing club that I’ve been a part of for several months now. We brewed around 80 gallons of strong scotch ale and split it up into smaller portions to ferment it. We’ll be getting back together in a month or so to combine the beer into a used Merlot barrel to age for several months.
My brewing system only handles 5 gallons at a time, so I cooked a pot of chili and photodocumented the brew while the guys with 10 and 15 gallon systems did the brewing. The chili was a cheaper version of my favorite recipe– I had chipotle peppers this time, and I used ground beef instead of the tastier chuck roast. One of the other guys brought a Bacon Explosion, which I was interested to try. I’ve never seen one up close before.
Who cares? I find it funny that anyone would try to be a “purist” about a food originated by cowboys and prison cooks. We’re a little late in the game to be claiming that any one recipe is the genuine article. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll say that chili is not meant to be a showcase for bison or kobe beef or arugula. Chili is cheap, filling, and full of spicy goodness. It’s a stew for cheap cuts of meat that fall apart into delicious threads of flavor run through with spice. To me, chili is a quintessential comfort food. It’s an anti-fancy dish that stands athwart the bulwarks of haute-cusine yelling Stop.
My chili is always a little different each time I make it, depending on what I have on hand, but it’s something that I make at least once every fall (along with borscht, but we’ll come to that later). Without further ado: