Easy Chili
October 1, 2012, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Easy but not quick, How To Land A Man, Meat, Staples | Tags:

It isn’t really cold yet. I mean, it never is COLD cold in Deepest South Georgia. The best we do here is a 2 day stretch in January where socks are required. Although last year we had an entire week where it was below 30 every night. You’da thought it was a new Ice Age, the way people grumbled about heating bills and lack of wool socks at the TBM (that is the local feed-seed-hunting supply place).

We like coldish weather. Well, the menfolk do, anyway, but they all have pelts and I don’t. What we do agree on is cold weather food. Spicy stuff that is filling and warm in the belly and rich with spices and meat. Stews are a household favorite, as are Thai curries and chowders in their myriad forms. Later on I’ll do a post on Low Country Crab Stew…which is like New England clam chowder only with crab meat and more crab meat replacing the potatoes and a dollop of sherry.

This is all it takes (plus a pound of hamburger)…how simple is that?

So last week I was anxious for cool weather. Mother Nature was teasing us with 60 degree nights and 75 degree days that allowed for open windows and a semblance of a blanket on the bed. The menfolk were making their stew-needing noises and I, frankly, was hankering some myself.

Brown that meat! In a great big pot!

CHILI! I shouted! With FRITOS! They replied. Because that’s how we do it. Also with cornbread but mainly with Fritos because they are elemental and perfect in every way. And no, not tortilla chips. Thick, salty Fritos. And not knockoffs, either. Frito-Lay brand Fritos.

Everything but the masa. Don’t add that yet or you’ll have nasty little lumps.

Now. I come from a chili-making family. My father, a Proud Texan, has his Own Recipe which he got from Wick Fowler. He, when he was a professor of Veterinary Medicine, would make 30 gallons at a time for the Omega Tau Sigma fraternity of which he was advisor. I would help because…y’know. Fraternity of veterinary students. Hellooo. His method involved chuck roasts and pinto beans and quart jars of Mom’s home canned tomatoes and more quart jars of his Own Special Blend of Herbs and Spices. It was (and still is) delicious. And it took all day because all that meat (like 30 pounds of it) would have to be cut into 1/2 inch chunks, then cooked in pair of massive cast iron pots over a low fire outside where the entire Fraternity Row would smell it and have jealousy. The beans were cooked the day before, and everything blended in perfect harmony to be slow simmered for several hours until He Pronounced It Ready. Oh, and he always made a gallon of “Special Chest Hair Growth Formula” chili that involved Mom’s home grown habeneros.

Mix it up good. Such a lovely shade or red.

Then I married Terry, who’s chili background was South Georgian, thus deemed ‘inferior’ by my Texas-born self…I have since learned that was pretty tactless, and actually come to like his version of chili…which involved opening cans and a pound of hamburger. It’s certainly faster and honestly, no less tasty than Dad’s (please don’t tell him that.)

Put the lid on it, turn the heat down low, and go enjoy a chapter of that new book.

Now, the version I make is a hybrid of the 2. I open a few cans- tomatoes, mainly, but occasionally beans if I decided at 5 to make chili, and not the day before where I could cook beans myself. I also use a package of chili seasoning…but it’s Wick Fowler’s which tastes remarkably like Dad’s recipe. Sometimes, if I am feeling Authentic, I’ll cut up a 2 pound chuck roast but mostly I just use hamburger (ground round, because it’s leaner and I always spill and make a mess when draining browned meat).

Daisy is pretty sure I might let her help. Good dog.

Terry’s the one who taught me to eat it over Fritos. Bless him. We’ve also eaten it over rice, which is really quite good and a great way to stretch it if one (or 2…sometimes 3) of the household sons brings a friend over. I also keep spare cans of beans for stretching, as well.

Add the masa and water to the long-simmered chili and stir in well.

Here we go!

Easy Chili
1 pound ground beef, browned in the bottom of a great big pot.
1 package Wick Fowler’s 2 Alarm Chili Seasoning Mix (ignore the directions on the package)
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
4 cups cooked pinto beans (or 4 cans, drained and rinsed)
Once the meat is browned, dump everything (EXCEPT the little package of masa from the seasoning kit) into the pot with the browned meat, and stir. Simmer low and slow for an hour or so…OR…you could make this up in the morning in a crock pot, set it on low, and go to work (or shopping, or take a nap, or do your regular stuff…whatever that is).
About 10 minutes before you serve it…let’s say, before you set the table or sit down for an after work Adult Beverage…stir the little package of masa into a 1/4 cup (or so…precision is not paramount) of water until well mixed and not lumpy, then pour that into the chili and stir it up. It will help thicken it and gives another layer of flavor…mild sort of corn-in-the-background flavor. If you forget to do this, that’s ok, but it’s worth it.

Proper chili is thick enough to stand the spoon up in, regardless of my inability to write a sentence that doesn’t with a preposition end.


Fill a bowl about 1/2 with Fritos, and ladle the chili on top of it. Isn’t that lovely!


Gratuitous picture of Taste-Tester #4 posing so I’ll take his picture and put it up here.


Now, the chili seasoning mix comes with a tiny packet of red pepper. This will take the chili to 2-alarm level. I don’t care for that, so I don’t add it. However, you might, and that is fine! The household menfolk like chili at 3 or 4 alarm level, so they add this dried pepper blend Terry’s father gives us, that is made from 6 types of peppers some friend of his grows in his garden, that includes habenaros, Thai bird chilis, and some other Satanic version of hot pepper. But, since it is much easier for them to add heat than it is for me to remove it, I don’t put it in the pot with the other stuff.


2 Comments so far
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I. Cannot. Believe. You. Put. BEANS!!! In. Your. Chili.

Blasphemy. Just blasphemy.


*deep breath*

Ok. Ima pretend I didn’t see that.

I top mine with green onions, sour cream and cheese. It’s delicious.

Comment by pheenobarbidoll

Oh I know, but when you’re feeding a crowd of teenage boys on a tight budget, you put in beans. Totally YES to the green onions, sour cream and cheese! I was just in such a daze in the excitement of having chili that I forgot.

Comment by rootietoot

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