Wednesday, October 14, 2015

CHILI - Ernie Banks "Let's Make Two Pots" CHILI - 52 Church PotLuck Soups and Chili Recipes

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As I am writing this I am basking in the glow of October baseball unlike anything I have ever had in my life.  Last night, my beloved Chicago Cubs won their first post season series in Wrigley Field in over 100 years... Indeed, party like it's 1908!  50 years of being a Cubs fan and I was reduced to a few tears as I watched the celebration (and wasn't it especially sweet that they beat the hated Cardinals to boot!).

Tonight, my relatively new beloved home town team (for the past 18 years) Kansas City Royals have an opportunity to move on and win their post season series.

50 plus years ago I was a wee lad loving the Cubs of the 60's.  Living just under 200 miles away from the friendly confines I even have a few memories of attending some games live!  The line-up included some of the greatest ball players of all time, Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins and possibly the greatest player to ever wear the uniform... ERNIE BANKS!

Ernie is one of those rare childhood heroes who never disappointed.  He played to win as much in his declining years as in his glory years.  He set record after record.  His personal life was a shining example of sportsmanship and enthusiasm.  He knew he had fans that read about his every move and he led his life accordingly.  My hero then and still now.

He became famous for enthusiastically saying, Let's play Two".  Back before the multi million dollar salaries and players changing team loyalties with nonchalance, Ernie loved the game.

And I know there are still a half dozen teams in contention for a world series birth, but for me, this would be the best October ever if my Cubbies met my Royals in the Fall Classic.

And so, I am dedicating this recipe to my hero and the good times in October I am finally having...

Ernie Banks, "Let's Make Two Pots" Chili!

Best to plan ahead, make a couple pots since
A)... the chili is that good that you need two pots to avoid the disappointment of being finished prematurely.
B)... You may as well make extra since you now need to have a bowl every time the Cubs (or Royals) play in the post season.  Tastier superstition than not changing your underwear.

OK... enough of my October fantasies, let's talk about this recipe.

Recently I received a copy of The Chili Cookbook: A History of the One-Pot Classic, with Cook-off Worthy Recipes from Three-Bean to Four-Alarm and Con Carne to Vegetarian!  And sure enough, filled with Chili recipes.

But also SO MUCH MORE.

Chili is one of those dishes that means different thing to different people worldwide.  Robb Walsh, the author, researches and explains many of them.  From the chuck wagon roots of the 19th century cattle drives in Tex-Mex country, to world wide origins of Hungarian goulash and Greek recipes.  Even featuring the Burber Pirate recipe for Tagine.  All lay claim to the "authentic" recipe and all are right.

Me, I love the chili of my youth, the chili of central Illinois... the chili of ground beef (who could afford steak in their chili?) and beans.  Talk to the authentic chili people and they would be vexed by those words.  In Texas my mama's chili would not even be considered chili.  But in Illinois we would not have ever been offered steak and spices chili that wins all the contests in Texas.

This book features all those recipes and more and explains why your chili is indeed authentic.  The prose is rich in history and traditions.  Century old stories and modern twists get equal respect.  Read a few chapters and you get caught up in the glory that is... CHILI!

Here's the legal stuff... "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!".  Love this book and highly recommend it!

The recipe (keep scrolling, it's here), I chose to make from the book (one of many I have marked to try) is actually called "Illinois Chilli with Two "L's"".  Has lots of different seasonings and pays homage to my mother's recipe... ground beef, beans and all!

It is also comforting, nostalgically delicious.  the perfect food for the boys of summer to celebrate the last few days in the sun.

Cubs and Royals all the way (you heard it here first)... Go ahead, you'll need to make a double Pot!

 OK... here's what I did...

Ernie Banks
"Let's Make Two Pots"

  • 5 Pounds Ground Beef (80/20 percent fat), browned, reserve the rendered fat
  • 2 White Onions, diced
  • 5 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Tomato Juice
  • 1 TBS Garlic Powder
  • 4 TBS Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Powder
  • 4 TBS Sweet Paprika
  • 4 TBS Cumin
  • 1 tsp Oegano
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 2 TBS Brown Sugar
  • 4 - 15 OZ Cans Chili Beans, with liquid, do not rinse
  • 1 - 28 OZ Can Diced Tomatoes with Liquid
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large Frying pan, brown the ground beef, reserve the renderings.
  2. Meanwhile, in a VERY LARGE or in two just large dutch ovens or chili pots, combine the Onion, Celery, Chicken Stock, Tomato Juice, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Black pepper, Brown Sugar, Beans with liquid and Tomatoes with liquid, Stir to blend.
  3. Add the Ground beef and again stir to mix. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Warm the rendered fat from the ground beef, add the flour to the renderings and stir to mix. Continue to stir and heat over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until a thickening roux forms.
  5. Check the Chili, taste. Add additional seasonings (more Chili Powder, Cayenne pepper or black Pepper if the chili needs to be spiced up) to taste. Know that as the chili continues to simmer (or sits over night) the spices will intensify.
  6. Stir in the thickening roux to make a thicker gravy.
  7. Serve HOT with dollops of Sour Cream if the chili is too spicy, extra cheese, raw onion, crackers (I like Fritos with this) and Jalapeno Peppers and ENJOY!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


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