Carnival-Time Chilly Chili
If you think all of the standard dishes we traditionally do for Mardi Gras are great, wait till you brew up a batch of this “Chilly Chili.” And if you plan to take it with you and eat it out along the parade route, you might want to bring extra for all the new friends you’re gonna make!
3 lbs. lean ground meat, coarse-ground
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
12-oz. bottle chili sauce (hot or mild)
10 oz. Rotel tomatoes with chilies (undrained)
8 oz. tomato sauce
½ cup chicken broth
3 tsps. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 pkg. 2-Alarm Chili Mix (3-5/8 oz.)
3 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning
2 cans black beans (washed and drained)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
8 cups steamed long grain rice
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 box multi-grain crackers
First in a large skillet, fry down the ground beef over medium-high heat until the meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Then, while it is still hot, pour off and discard any excess rendered out fat. Set the skillet aside for a while.
In the meantime, take a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms a handful at a time until they are wilted and tender. Then drop in the onions, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté that mixture until it softens.
When the veggies are ready, stir in the chili sauce, the Rotel tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the chicken broth, the chili powder, the Worcestershire, the chili mix, the ground cumin, the beef seasoning, the black beans, the salt, and the black pepper. . .along with the browned ground meat. Then mix everything together well and stir, stir, and stir again!
When the contents of the pot are homogenized, bring them up to high heat—but without boiling! Then immediately reduce the fire to low, put the lid on the pot, and simmer the recipe for about an hour, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. (It is also a good idea to taste the chili from time to time as it cooks and make whatever seasoning adjustments you desire).
Then when you’re ready to eat, quickly whisk in the minced parsley, heap the chili in single servings over scant bowls of steamed rice, sprinkle with a handful of green onions and shredded cheese, and serve with a stack of buttered crackers.
This version is fit for Mardi Gras royalty!
I suggest you don’t cook the chili in a regular black cast iron pot—the tomatoes will tend to give it a slightly “rusty” taste. Anodized aluminum or heavy commercial stainless steel is best.
You can eliminate a maximum amount of fat from the chili if you drain the sautéed meat in a colander.
The quantity of liquid in this recipe should be ideal for the ratio of ingredients, but if you find that a little more liquid is needed you can go ahead and pour in tad extra chicken broth. On the other hand if you find the chili a scant too soupy, you can stir in a tablespoon or two of prepared roux to thicken the mixture slightly. All this is nothing more than a matter of preference.
If you’d prefer not to put black beans in the chili, you can substitute ranch style or pinto beans in their place or you can leave them out completely. But here’s the Rule of Thumb—main dish chili always has beans; hotdog chili never has beans. But it’s your call, cuz it’s your chili!