Monday, October 4, 2010

Pantry Chili & Edgar's story

Thanks to my chili post, and my Edgar purchase (more on that in a sec), and the dreary weather; I was craving chili yesterday. However, since I'm me and I didn't plan this craving ahead of time, it was up to me and the pantry to make magic happen. Luckily - it totally did.
Edgar was a lovely creature from Stemple Creek Ranch that gave up his life so that 11 of my friends and I might eat some amazingly delicious free range, healthy and sustainable red meat.
Now, thanks to things like The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Inc., I know that I want happy, healthy, walking around animals on my dinner table.  Well; I want to know that they were happy, healthy, and walking around BEFORE they end up on my dinner table anyway.  Thanks to a local group I belong to (shout out to Bay Area Food Bloggers!), I knew about Stemple Creek and off I went with some half baked idea about buying a quarter of a cow.  But how on Earth was I going to store 110 pounds of delicious, healthy cow meat in my San Francisco freezer?  Well I wasn't, plain and simple.  Lucky for me, I have loads of like minded foodie friends that were game to share the beast.  We all ended up with a healthy portion of various cuts of meat (some more than others, depending on how many people each "quarter of the quarter" was split with).  This was way back in August when I was in Mexico.  I just ate my first bit of Edgar YESTERDAY.  I'll have to call Loren (owner of Stemple Creek Ranch) and let him know, since he actually called to check in and see how everything was, how everyone liked the meat, and what they could do to make the ordering process easier.  Now THAT is customer service.

In any case - a hankering for chili I had, and hardly any canned tomatoes in the pantry.  What's a girl to do?  Well, lucky for me I am a bit of a hoarder, so I had some things floating around - tons of spices, some cannelini beans, some black beans and Pace picante sauce.  So I did a spin on that recipe I posted recently from Gourmet, via Smitten Kitchen.

2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds of ground Edgar (or equally delicious grass fed beef)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
to make up for my lack of paprika or green peppers:
1 tablespoon of "Mexican Seasoning"
1 tablespoon of "All Purpose Seasoning(this one or something similar)
1/2 tablespoon of celery salt
Kosher salt to taste
1 16 oz jar of Medium Pace Picante Sauce
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1/2 bottle of lager (I used Black Star - yum)
1 can of canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

In a large pot (I used my Dutch Oven), heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute. Add the Pace, broth and beer and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the beans, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

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