Friday, February 27, 2009

Mole Chili Portuguese Bean Soup Conglomeration

My first ever attempt to make chili from scratch wasn't very guided. I made it on the principles of spaghetti sauce, soup, and Indian food, coupled with all the lore I'd heard from the frequent chili cookoff contests in the media. I get the idea that chili elitists hate beans, and use only meat. Then there's the meatless vegetarian chili enthusiasts. I hear the latest chili contest winner made pumpkin chili, which sounds like something up my alley. Another cook swears by chocolate as the secret ingredient. Many believe you need to let the chili "rest" for a day or two in the fridge for perfect flavor. I made a combination of all these floating ideas through a very complex process spanning several days. It began with a trip to the store to get all the vegetables on sale. I used:

A whole head of garlic (10 cloves?)
1 yellow onion
2 ears fresh corn kernels
2 packets mushrooms (shiitake and that flatter flowery one...?)
cilantro (5 stems)
1 carrot
1 bag (about 4 cups?) dried kidney beans, soaked overnight
297yen worth of lean ground beef (maybe a cup?)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can whole stewed tomatoes
1 can Japanese spaghetti sauce base

I believe I added these spices at various intervals throughout the cooking process:
3 cubes bullion (chicken and beef)
2 cups chicken soup (from yesterday)
4 cups water
4+ tablespoon salt
4+ tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup (maybe more?) sugar
2 t. cumin
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (it scared me at first because it made the whole place smell like dessert)
whole red hot chili pepper
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon paprika

At least a teaspoon each of:
black pepper
white pepper

I honestly probably don't remember everything I put in the pot. My basic method:
  1. sweat minced garlic in olive oil on lowest flame. Add diced onions. Add lots of cumin, paprika, less coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove. Add meat. Brown meat on medium heat. Add tomato products. Add sugar. Cut carrots into small pieces, add. Add quartered mushrooms. Add beans. Add everything else, tasting as you go. Next time I will probably use a more even meat to bean ratio. It's harder to make things tasty when you have SO many beans and not so much meat, especially since chili kind of lacks the strong spice base of Indian food...I didn't want my chili to taste Indian. Still pretty tasty, but I did have to keep adding salty seasonings at the end like bullion and salt. I didn't know I would end up with so many beans! Add cilantro near the end.
Serve over white rice with plenty of grated cheese.

To concentrate the flavor, next time I will not add as much water or broth. I will use more tomato product, and also real tomatoes. as well as cannned corn, which I believe is sweeter than fresh corn, which really is best eaten as buttery corn on the cob. I might not add the chocolate in as great a quantity. I will use more onion if I'm going to make so much. Perhaps some bacon. Cooking is still a big experiment, and I need experience. I'm glad it came out tasting good, but it was missing something. That something was satisfied by a sprinkle of grated cheese (the only type of cheese they sell in Japan, I might add). With cheese, perfectly acceptable, even good enough to be eaten very slowly, savored, and enjoyed. Tried it out on a few friends tonight because I made so much. They ate it, so it must be all right!

1 comment:

  1. If you are doing more of a vegetarian type dish, try 2 cups of vegetable broth. I also add a can of beer and a teaspoon of dry oregano and if you need to add salt, please use sea salt. I sometimes put zuchinni and eggplant in my chilis. There are many versions out there but that is the best part about making one your own version!