Ok party people, the holidays are officially over here at the ranch and I have dubbed it that way by taking down my beloved tree, tossing the wreath, unplugging the lights and packing my decorations up nice and neat (well, neat enough).
Because I needed to cleanse the holiday, get rid of all of the distraction so I can begin work on my will power.
I mean, the second Christmas at the in-laws over New Years really put to the test just how many cookies and cocktail weenies and shrimps and candy canes and cheese balls a girl could possibly eat without touching a single vegetable unless I found it coated in some sort of cheese or white sauce during the last month—yup, I really pushed the limit of those stretchy pants….
…oh stretchy pants, how I love thee…
Anyway, now is the time. Back to reality. Back to real pants. No more sugar cookies for breakfast. No more cheese ball for lunch. Because in 2 days we are hitting the slopes for a weekend of music and mayhem and physical activity, and I have exactly 48 hours to get in shape, dammit…
That is what I told husband as I was lugging the Christmas boxes upstairs and instructing him to take the candy cane covered tree out of my sight…
But apparently he had other plans.
Plans that included this chili.
Because what every ski bunny needs after a long day skidding, face-first down the slopes, is a nice hot bowl of chili to ease the pain of her lack of athleticism and grace…and we are making it tonight to take with us…
…and it’s gonna be just the way Cowboy likes it, finally, so pipe down about your aversion to anything above mild and get ready to feel some real heat ok?
Well, at least the northern states’ version of heat. Cowboy would like to apologize in advance to anyone from Texas or New Mexico who knows how to assemble a chili that makes your aunt Edna breathe fire…and like it. This is a German boy’s, crock pot attempt…and it’s damn good–well as good as anything can be without butter and flour.
Ok, hold on to your long underwear, cause Cowboy’s cookin’ snow meltin’, nose de-frostin’, wool sock wearin’ chili. And he ain’t taming it down for no one…especially me.
Step One: First things first
Grab yourself a beer why don’t ya. And an apron that says exactly what you’re thinking. Oh, and a crock pot, or some version of the thing with a lid
Now gather the following ingredients:
- 1 lb hamburger
- 1 1/2 lbs stew meat
- 1 large red onion
- 8 oz container whole mushrooms
- and as many jalapenos you can handle
- Brown the hamburger in the crock pot if you have the time and John Wayne is on anyway, or you can just throw it in a pan on the stove. Add some chili powder and salt and pepper if you want
- While the hamburger is cooking chop the red onion, mushrooms and jalapenos. (I didn’t get any photos of this cause I was busy finishing off the last of the Christmas fudge, you know, to get it out of sight).
- Now throw the hamburger, stew meat (uncooked), onion, mushrooms and jalapenos (add some of the jalapeno juice if you’re feeling brave and daring) in the pot where they can all get acquainted before the real party begins…
Now you’re ready for the hard part–gathering the rest of the ingredients to dump in the pot and stir.
Literally, that is all you do.
And tell yourself over and over what an amazing chef you are…
Step 2: Ok, dig in the pantry and pull out the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Black pepper to taste (a little more than a little but a little less than a lot)
- Red pepper to taste (Cowboy says, “Red pepper is a tricky little devil…it doesn’t taste so strong at first, but it’s the after burn that kills ya…ooofff…”)
- 7 oz can green chilies
- 28 oz can of baked beans
- 15 oz can navy beans (drained) (“navy beans, navy beans, navy beans…” Lunch Lady Land? Anyone? Anyone?…)
- 15 oz can kidney beans (drained)
- 15 oz can pinto beans (drained)
- 15 oz can spicy chili beans
- 15 oz can black beans (drained)
(Cowboy says “You don’t have to use all these beans, but I do cause I like ’em.”)
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce (if you don’t have this you can use Tabasco sauce…Cowboy can’t pronounce the name of this, but made it clear that “it adds a delicious spicy taste to things..anything…says so right on the bottle.”
- Oh, and you can add some Cajun seasoning too, if you’re feeling particularly southern today.
- And last but not least, of course, the chili powder. Get acquainted with it, cause, as I was told, without it, chili is just a bunch of beans.
- Ok, so in no particular order, open your cans and your lids and dump it all in the pot.
- Now get that chili powder out of your holster and give it a few generous shakes.
Keep adding until it tastes good to you.
And now for, the secret ingredient: the fresh, whole cherry tomatoes. Which are apparently important and so enticing that I accidentally used a few on my salad for lunch (oh yeah, a salad…this is serious).
Anyway, Cowboy noticed. “Looks like I’m missing 5 to 6 tomatoes,” he said.
To which I replied, “Tomatoes? Tomatoes? Do those look like snickerdoodles?”
- So now you add those tomatoes to the chili and mix it all up until you’re happy with it.
- Now put that crock pot on low and wait.
Because it wouldn’t be Cowboy’s Kitchen without the wait. And we skipped the butter this time around, so I am sure you’re all thrown for a loop.
Cowboy recommends the following, word for word:
“Have all this shit ready in the morning, throw it in a pot, put it on low and eat it for supper…that’s the best way to do it…”
We are going to put it in a Tupperwear, freeze it and transport it a few hundred miles to Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota, where we will fling our bodies down a slippery, ice packed mountain of danger and when we are done we will drink something to take the edge off and listen to some good tunes at a mountain music festival this weekend.
And then enjoy the hell out of this chili.
And I will work on my plan of not breaking every bone in my body, or face skidding, or crying, or panicking.
Or at least escaping death.
But don’t pray for this chili.
Just make it and you shall be saved.
Or at least warmed up.
And unless you wanna come with us, I’ll see ya when I get back….
…hopefully in one piece…