A Chili Story

A Chili Story

I don’t know why, even when I want to cook a simple dinner, if it doesn’t involve a microwave, it always has to be a story.  Or maybe it’s just me who thinks my life is hilarious.  No comments from the peanut gallery plz.

So we have a kitchen in our new house – not particularly high on my list of priorities, but most houses have them, so we’ll take it.  It’s a great kitchen too.  Tall cabinets, crown molding and a stove the size of Texas. Oh, and an oven the size of an Easy Bake.  That’s for another post.

Everyone who sees our big Viking stove with 6-burners and a built-in griddle immediately says “Whoooa. That’s an awesome stove.  {beat, beat, beat} Jaana!  You need to learn to cook!”  Which is exactly what I said when we got the place.  But we all know learning a new skill doesn’t happen overnight, so I started out small on Monday night with our first home cooked meal.  A simple chili.  I mean look how easy this thing is to make:

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 and 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 8 oz. jar salsa
4 tsp. chili seasoning
1 15 oz. can light red kidney beans
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans

Short version:  mix it all together and simmer for an hour.

Yes.  My kind of dinner prep.  I already had ground beef in the freezer, so I just had to run to the store to buy a couple things.  When I got home to start cooking the ground beef, I opened the package and was hit by an… unusual… smell.  It was rotten.  I guess it had actually gone bad before I put it in the freezer.  So.  No ground beef.  Ok, I was sure I could find something else that worked.

After perusing the pantry, I saw that we had some canned chili.  It already has the beans and beef (if you can call it that) so I could just liven it up with some of the extra ingredients.  I threw 2 cans in the pan and added a special local salsa I had found that looked amazing.  Stirred everything up to taste and see how it was coming along.

Mmmm, not bad… not bad… oh!  a little spicy!  Oh dear!  Very spicy! Ow! My lips are on fire!  Aaaaah!!

I don’t know whether the spice came from the salsa or the Hormel “Hot + Spicy” canned chili.  Hm.  But it was way too hot.  I immediately added tomato sauce.  Then more tomato sauce.  Then water.  Then diced tomatoes.  Then beans.  Then a little more tomato sauce.  At this point, my pan was nearly overflowing and the chili was still burning my lips.  So I texted my friends to see what one does in this situation.

They all replied “ADD SOMETHING SWEET!”  Sugar, honey, dark chocolate.  Any of those will counter the spice.

So I added them all.

And after it simmered for awhile, it actually tasted pretty darn good.  But it was still spicier than I like.  And of course I had enough to feed 10 people.  So all I could do at that point was take a bite of chili, bite of buttered white bread.  Bite of chili, bite of buttered white bread.  I may or may not have added ketchup also. It helped counter the heat a little bit, but I still couldn’t finish the bowl.

Paul said he liked it, but the next day when I told him we were having chili leftovers for dinner, he conveniently remembered that he “had eaten a big lunch earlier”.  Yeah.