Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cul De Sac Chili

My favorite element of the fall season is how conducive it is to eating soup!  My other favorite thing in the fall is when we join our neighbors in a Halloween cookout, hayride, and trick or treating.  I don't have a white picket fence, but I do have one helluva cul de sac!  Each year, we rent a bouncey house that is great entertainment for all the kids - and for some adults too (me)!  Then my neighbor Kyle gets some hay from the co-op (his wife Stacy told me, as we wondered where that actually was).  Stacy and I could tell you more quickly where to find a pair of Toms for your kids than we could figure out where to get hay...The 4 homes on the cul de sac each get 2 bales of decorative hay, then the rest of the hay is placed onto a trailer that the children will sit on as Kyle drives them slowly through the neighborhood.  Everybody chips in a dish, extension cords come out, slow cookers congregate, and decorative styrofoam cups are shared.  Does that always mean that someone is enjoying an adult beverage?  If it's me holding one, then yes...
We had treats galore!  Also this year, we had an outdoor television viewing corner.  The Carsons have a downstairs theatre in their home, so it's understandable that they would set up an outdoor entertainment center for this outdoor occasion, especially since the Razorbacks played - and won - this day, thank goodness. 
My main dish was the chili con carne, but I was scared that a 6 quart Crockpot of chili would not be enough, so I made a backup pot of chicken chili.  The recipe for that is the same, except I used chicken.  I also added corn.

I was also worried that we wouldn't have enough hot dogs for the kids, so I also roasted some hoisin garlic chicken.  We seem to eat a lot of chicken legs in the cul de sac.  We joke with the Kims about it, but it's true - the kids will always eat these!  To make the Hoisin Garlic Chicken, marinate the chicken in fish sauce or soy sauce with hoisin sauce and garlic.  Really the fish sauce is a great brining agent that helps any meat stay tender and moist!  Don't forget to add black pepper.

Preheat the oven to convection roast 400 degrees.  When it's ready, put the chicken in for 20 minutes.  I had 10 drumsticks.  After 20 minutes, change the temperature to 325 degrees and cook another 30 minutes.  Let rest about 15 minutes, then they're ready.
Since I bought a new crockpot (my first one since Jereme's mom bought me one back in 1999?), I was able to share 2 different items in a slow cooker this year.  I thought the kids would enjoy some Italian style meatballs.  I didn't have time to cook all day, so I got a bag of the Italian meatballs from Sams and put them in the slowcooker for 3 hours on high with 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic and a cup of chicken stock.  They loved them!

Thanks to my friend Matt at AKC Party Rentals for the awesome bouncey house!!!  It's so much fun to jump in these things, no wonder the kids jump in them for hours and hours....while the grownups are inside cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills.  If only I could jump carelessly all day in one of these things!

Chili Con Carne

  • 2 Pounds of lean ground beef
  • 2 Pounds of chuck roast, trimmed of fat and diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Onions coursely chopped
  • 5 Cloves of garlic
  • 2 Packages Williams Chili packets (look for silver and black)
  • 1 Can of roasted garlic diced tomatoes - Hunts has no high fructose corn syrup!
  • 1 Can of Rotel Mexican diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro
  • 1 Can of no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • Beef stock
  • Ground Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Sour cream
  • Diced onion, raw
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large dutch oven or braiser.  Add a little salt and pepper.  Drain off fat, then add to a 6 quart slow cooker.  Brown the chuck roast cubes, drain off fat, and add to slow cooker.  Continue to season in layers with salt and pepper.
  2. If needed, add more oil to the pan.  Then, add onions and cook until tender.  After about 10 minutes, add the finely chopped garlic cloves.  Drain off fat and add to slow cooker.
  3. To the pan, add one cop of water.  Bring up to a boil, while whisking the browned bits on the pan.  When it boils, add the bouillon cube and stir to dissolve.  Add to slow cooker.
  4. Next, add tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, and black beans.
  5. Add more beef stock depending on the consistency that you like your chili.
  6. Heat on low with the lid on for 7 hours.
  7. Taste the chili, and if needed, add salt or more cumin and cayenne, depending on how spicy you like your chili.

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