Monday, September 21, 2009

Quick and Easy Chili in Homemade Bread Bowls

I’ve mentioned before that I find recipes in the unlikeliest places. This time I was reading Gardener News, a periodical aimed at gardeners obviously. But it also features recipes appropriate to the season. For the September edition, a chili recipe was offered.

I’ve been in search of the perfect chili recipe for years. Most of the recipes I’ve tried are called chili because they have chili powder in them. They don’t even come close to my idea of chili. And the few chili recipes that did come close, still lacked “something”.

This recipe caught my eye because it calls for a jalapeno pepper and Cayenne pepper. I love spicy food! It also contains half of a bell pepper which is cooked along with the onion before adding the rest of the ingredients. Most recipes use a whole bell pepper and cook it and the onion with everything else resulting in a chili with a lot of crunchy peppers and onions. I don’t like my chili crunchy.

I didn’t make the bread bowls. I’ve been cutting down on the amount of bread I eat. I even use wraps for my sandwiches. I used tomato juice instead of V-8 Juice. I thought that the chili would probably be spicy enough without the added spices in the V-8. I was little hesitant about using olive oil. I just don’t care for the taste. Usually I substitute vegetable oil. In this case I went with the olive oil because the intense spices would (hopefully) cover the taste of the olive oil.

The instructions to prepare the vegetables while the meat browned were right on. Of course I knew better and did the veggies first and then the meat. And found myself standing around watching ground beef brown. Not even as exciting as watching golf because with meat, you already know the outcome. Next time, veggies while meat browns.

It’s not often that I love a recipe the first time that I make it. More often, it’s the second day when the flavors have had a chance to meld. This is one of those rare occasions that was love at first bite. The olive oil taste was buried under all the spices, as was the acid in the tomatoes. My only complaint was too many beans, not enough meat. I’m not sure that I would add more meat, but I would definitely eliminate at least one of the cans of Pinto beans.

I finally found the perfect chili recipe.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!!

Quick and Easy Chili in Homemade Bread Bowls
(Source: Cherry Huntoon, Kings Cooking Studio)

1 package frozen bread dough – 3 loaves to a package
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion
½ - bell pepper – any color
1 small Jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
3 cans Pinto beans (15-16 ounces each)
1 large can plum tomatoes (28-ounces) – whole or diced
2 cups tomato juice or vegetable juice (V-8)
Salt and pepper

Defrost the dough according to package directions. Cut each loaf into 3 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place the balls on parchment lined baking sheets and set aside to rise (30 to 40 minutes). Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until they are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Preheat a large soup pot. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

Prepare the vegetables while the meat is browning:
· Peel the onion and chop it by hand or use a mini-chop to make a fine dice.
· Cut the pepper in half. Remove the ribs and seeds and cut it into strips ½- inch wide, then cut the strips into a ½-inch dice.
· Cut the jalapeno in half and remove the ribs and seeds, then cut it into
a fine dice. Combine the onion and peppers and put aside.
· Peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press. Do not combine the
garlic with the peppers.

When the meat is browned, remove it to a bowl and set it aside. Drain the liquid. Put the pan back on the burner and add the remaining oil.

When the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers. Sauté until they are soft, adjusting the heat if necessary so they do not get brown or crispy.

Add the garlic and cook no more than 1-minute. Be careful it doesn’t burn.

Add the meat back to the pan. Sprinkle the chili powder, cumin and cayenne over the meat and stir to combine.

Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to the pan, then add the tomatoes. Break the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, if necessary. Stir in the tomato juice. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper and even more cayenne, as you like. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes.

Cut the top off each cooled bread ball. Scoop out most of the bread inside, being careful to not break or crack the outside. Fill the empty bread bowls with chili. Serve with diced onions, shredded cheese, crackers and/or hot sauce, if desired.

Recycle: olive oil bottle, pinto beans and tomatoes cans, tomato juice bottle or can

Compost: onion skins, garlic skins, ribs and seeds of jalapeno and bell peppers

1 comment:

A said...

This is A, the other half of this blog. I just tried this recipe, and I would have to rate it as "Not bad, but I don't think I'll be making it again". In other words, I have other chili recipes I like better. I found this recipe to have an odd off-flavor. This may be because I used ground turkey rather than ground beef, and the turkey had been in the freezer for awhile so may have been a little freezer-burned. I agree that two cans of beans is about right, and you might be able to cut back on the meat, too.