My friend Rochelle got ahold of me one evening to ask about possibly doing a photoshoot with food.  She was looking to beef up her portfolio, and I like taking pictures of tasties.  Sounds like a win-win, no?  So we set up a photography play-date.

But what should we make?  I ran through several ideas, but I wanted to do something a little different.  While strolling through the grocery store, my boyfriend mentioned in passing that he wanted to make some chili sometime soon.  Lightbulb moment!  I decided to not only take pictures of the chili, but to feature Ray’s recipe here in my blog.  A guest feature of sorts.  So we grabbed our ingredients and ran home with them, and I sat back to watch Ray work.

Recipe behind the jump.

You will need:

  • 1 large whole yellow onion
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 lbs of chunk stew beef, cut in half to quarters (preference is everything here)
  • 3 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 4 tbsp plus a pinch of chili powder, divided
  • 2 tbsp plus a pinch of chipotle chile powder
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp plus a pinch of red pepper flakes, divided
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, chili style
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can light kidney beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 habanero peppers, seeded and finely minced
  • 3 serrano chilis, minced (seeds and all)
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • chopped onion (optional)
  • sliced chilis of your choice (optional)
  • bacon pieces (optional)
  • chopped scallions (optional)
Start by chopping up the onion into 1/4 inch pieces.  Mince the garlic cloves.  Add half of the onion and half the garlic to a medium saucepan with the ground beef with a tablespoon of butter.  In a pan, add the other half of the garlic and onion along with the stew beef.  Sprinkle a pinch of the chipotle chile powder, regular chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, ground pepper, and salt over both the ground beef and the stew chunks.  Add a little extra for flare, or for taste.  Up to you.  Brown both meats.  Line a colander with paper towels and drain the ground beef.  Set the ground beef and stew meat aside.
In a large stock pot, add the tomatoes, the sauces, the beans, the meats, and the peppers.  Add eight cups of water and the three bouillon cubes.  Bring to a simmer over low heat.  Add 4 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 tablespoons of chipotle chile powder, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
Ray insists the magic ingredient of this chili is the ground chipotle chili pepper.  He says it gives the chili a robust smokey flavor that he feels makes his chili as good as it is.  I believe him.  I’ve seen (and tasted) the magic that is his chili.  4srs.
The hard part is done!  Let it simmer over low heat for several hours.  Stir it now and then so the beans don’t get stuck to the bottom and make coffee (I can attest to how much that sucks.)  Taste now and then and adjust your spices as you see fit.  The chili should both reduce and change color slightly.  It should go from watery to a much thicker chili consistency.  It should change from a light red to a much deeper red.  Simply put, it will start to look like chili instead of chili soup.
However, do not try to rush this chili.  The trick to chili is time.  It must simmer for several hours at least, so the flavors evenly distribute and the savory ingredients mingle.  Boiling it hard to make it reduce faster will make mush instead of deliciousness and the spices will not have a chance to work their magic.  So please, have patience.  Read a book.  Watch the newest episode of Game of Thrones.  Paint your toenails.  In otherword, chill.
For your patience, you will be vastly rewarded.
When your chili has reached the consistency of good chili, as in not soupy and nice and thick, ladle it into heavy bowls.  Top with cheddar cheese, chopped onion, sliced peppers, maybe even some bacon or chopped scallions!  Serve to your adoring fans.  You don’t have to tell them it was something you found on the internet.  I won’t tell if you don’t.

Stars and Stripes

I put mine in a patriotic bowl, because what is more American than chili?  Plus it was Memorial Day the day before we made this.  So, you can say this was Memorial Day chili.
I shot this particular shoot with Rochelle’s Canon Rebel XSi.  It takes magnificent picture and gives me serious camera lust.  I want either the XSi or the Nikon D5000.  Look at these peppers!

Serrano Chilis

So that may be my next major purchase.

Anyway, Ray’s chili, ladies and gents.  Enjoy!