Cajun Clark's Fortnight Recipe: Cookin' Chili

January 21, 2004
by Cajun Clark


Why Chili?  you ask.  Da ol' mon's reasoning goes something like this:

About now us folks in the Northern Hemisphere are experiencing the depths of winter;  fortunately the Winter Solstice was one month ago and the days are getting longer.  While our friends in the Southern Hemisphere,  "Down Under," are still in the middle of their summer, but their days are getting shorter.   Then we have all those good valued subscribers somewhere in between.  Now that you've figured that out it's on to the chili.

Have you ever been to a Chili Cook-off?   If so you know that there are as many ways to make chili as there are cooks!   Some use meat, others don't.   Some use beans, others don't.  And when it comes to meat, that's a real eye-opener.


You'll find any thing from ground beef to elk to rattlesnake, including just about everything in between;  such as moose, possum, raccoon, venison, chicken, turkey, goat, rabbit, 'roo, emu, ostrich, and who knows what else.

Some cooks use onions, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, green chilies, tomato sauce, even cream of mushroom soup.   Yep, you read right on the soup.  The Chili Con Carne recipe from Caj's Mother calls for it.

Another thing that's really strange about chili cooks are the seasonings they use; not necessarily what's listed here.   You name it and someone has probably used it;  maybe not a second time but at least once.   Some of the more common spices are chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, you fill in the blank ___.

So when it comes to Cookin' Chili, here's the bottom line, the final ingredient--there's no one set recipe!   Sure you'll find basic recipes like the first two that follow, but when you get to the third one you'd best get a tight grip on your wooden spoon.  Because it all came about by another of da ol' mon's mistakes in the kitchen;  fortunately this one turned out to be an edible delight.  YES!  luck does help when it comes to cookin'.

Chili Con Carne


BROWN in frying pan:  2 pounds hamburger (or ground beef).

BROWN in another pan:  1 cup diced celery and 1 good size onion.

PUT meat, celery and onion into a roaster,

1 can tomato soup
1 can red kidney beans
1 can spaghetti and tomato sauce
1 can mushroom soup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vinegar

FILL soup can with water and RINSE all tins and ADD. COOK in slow oven 2 to 3 hours.



FRY until brown:
2 pounds hamburger
1 small can green chilies, drained
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced

2 cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, to taste

ADD water to cover ingredients.  COVER and SIMMER 1 hour.  ADD beans if desired.

Venison Chili


This all started out to be Ham Hocks and Beans, but by the time the recipe was finished... For the full story see:

Since the unmarked package pulled out of the freezer was not ham hocks, it was time to rewrite the recipe.  So, here ya go:

Pull the two-pounds of venison hamburger out of the freezer, a couple of packages of tomatoes, another couple of onions, and don't forget the bell peppers.  It's time to make venison chili with beans;  even if you don't like beans in your chili.

Looking at the pot containing the soaking beans, then looking at the other ingredients to be added, leads to another decision:

Get out a bigger pot, the six-quart one.  No, forget the eight-quarter or you'll be selling chili on the corner.

Finally, mission accomplished, cookware ready for filling, here's the recipe  (kinda-sorta, since it's always a personal decision of what to use and how much to add of any ingredient):

1 pound of pinto beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 pounds venison hamburger
4 cups tomatoes, chopped
4 cups onions, chopped
2 cups bell peppers, chopped; ADD to pot about 1/2 hour before calling it done.
1 can green chilies, chopped and drained

Mix the above ingredients together, and bring to a slow simmer.   Add water as needed for the consistency you desire; usually just enough to cover all the stuff you're cookin'.

NOW  here's the tricky part, the seasoning.  Remember, what you add and how much depends on your personal taste.  So go slow;
it's better to have too little and add, than too much and spoil what was tasting so good.

10 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic, granulated
2 1/2 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper

Okay, that's it.  Well, not quite.  Simmer, covered, until beans are tender.  This could take anywhere from an hour to two- or three-hours, depending on how high you have your heat and the type of cooking pot you're using.  Remember, the amount and kind of seasonings you use depends on your taste.  Any recipe, including this one is only a guide, a track to run on.

Okay,  there you have it.  Ol' mon Caj's dissertation of Cookin' Chili.   One thing not said is that chili is a great warmer-upper, goes great with barbecue, and garlic French bread makes a great bowl cleaner-upper.  With three "greats" it has to be a must make for whatever reason.  Enjoy, and Bon Appetit!

Please tell everyone you know that Cajun Clark's Fortnight Recipe is published on the 7th and 21st of each month, and if they're not a valued subscriber they should be.

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(c) Copyright 2004, Cajun Clark.  All rights reserved.


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