McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

November 2, 2011

Big bowl of chili will warm a fall day

MCT — A big pot of chili is a great fall go-to dish and a good tailgate option that easily feeds a crowd.

It’s one of those dishes where people take sides, and variations are all over the map. The bowl of red you whip up can have its roots in a region or state. In Texas, beans are a no-no. Cincinnati-style chili is served over spaghetti.

The International Chili Society (ICS) defines chili as any kind of meat cooked with chili peppers, spices and other ingredients such as broth and onions. If you want to enter ICS-sanctioned chili events, don’t even think about adding beans.

The secret for competition chili is all in the spices, texture and taste. Chili cooks covet their secret spice mixtures, often mail-ordering them or using only certain brands.

Some make up a spice mixture and add it in stages. That way, all the ingredients get an initial and then a final seasoning.

For everyday cooks, chili is a good way to use up ingredients.

My ideal chili has a good spicy kick that’s not overpowering. It’s just not fun, in my opinion, if all you taste is heat and can’t enjoy the other ingredients. I also like a certain texture _ just shy of the thickness of pasta sauce, not too thick and not too thin.

I typically avoid using ground beef in chili, which makes what I call hamburger soup. I prefer cubed or diced beef, and that’s what most chili competitors use, too.

The key to cubing or dicing beef with little effort (especially if you’re making a lot of chili) is to make sure it’s well-chilled. If the beef is too warm, it’s squishy and the pieces won’t be even in size. Place the meat on a plate and put it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Take it out and immediately cut it into strips and then into cubes.

Having said that, I can say that I’m not a food snob, either, and I had a pound of ground beef tucked away in the freezer, so I used it in this recipe, along with three lonely green peppers and thin beef strip steaks.

The seasoning is from common pantry spices. One of my favorite mild chili powders is ground ancho chili. It’s a mild-flavored powder with more smokiness than heat.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Nutrition info: 232 calories (38 percent from fat ), 10 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat ), 18 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 792 mg sodium, 42 mg cholesterol, 5 grams fiber

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.