Chili for a chilly day.

After a HUGE fail last night at dinner (never serve your Latin husband chicken fried steak), but the hot crush potatoes were a hit.  I re-bounded tonight with an excellent Chili served with Buttermilk Corn Bread and Wedge Salad.

The bummer here was I DIDN’T take any pictures of the meal because I was worried that, well, it’d fail again.  BUT, this really was amazing.  Even Ruby liked and ate a ton of it!  I’ll start with the Chili. You should make it, it’s a bean-less version. Very fresh. Very flavorful (not overpowering) and not too spicy for the kiddos.  Although, I serve Tabasco on the side to give the hubby the heat he needs.

What Goes Into it?

Chili Ingredients

  • 5 pounds 80% ground beef
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onion(s), chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes with juices & 1 can (16 oz.) chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 15 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 palmfull of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1⁄3 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Sour cream, chopped red or green onion, avocado, grated cheddar cheese and/or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (or in my family there’s always Tabasco, Jalapeño’s and Salsa)
How Do I Make It?
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown half the beef, and I mean BROWN it!  Also make sure it’s in little small pieces and not clumps.  When it’s nice and brown (and black on some pieces) move the beef to a large bean pot or slow cooker.  Don’t dump in the contents of the pan, ’cause you don’t want all the meaty juices in the final pot, just the meat.
Repetir por favor.  I mean,  repeat with remaining beef.

Add the garlic, yellow onion(s), tomatoes with juices, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, cornmeal and stock to the pot or slow cooker and stir to blend. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours.

Serve the chili in bowls you’ve been warming in the oven and set out garnishes on the table so everyone can pick their favorite.

Photoshop Fun.

Something was bothering me about the pics I took yesterday and although my fingers are frozen (because our heater went out and it’s quite possibly one of the coldest winters I can remember here), I decided to do some editing.  The poor kids, left to fend for themselves, again.

Because of the way the light was in the park, we all came out looking  a bit gray and sickly.  These are much better now.

An afternoon at the park.

It’s been raining and cold more than usual and the kids (not to mention me) are stir crazy. Today was cold but absolutely beautiful so I decided to get down to the park so the kids (and I) could play a little.

Tommy is really getting into taking pictures, he got a point and shoot from Santa last year and he’s really not too shabby! I’ll do a separate post of his photos although, he took the one of Ruby and I below!

Tamales in the making.

One of our Christmas traditions is making and eating LOTS of Tamales.

The day before Christmas Eve we made Tamales.  We started at 10 am and finished at 10PM.

28 dozen Tamales.

This was supposed to be a post on my fabulous Tamale making (HA!)… about 1.5 hours into cutting the GORDO (see FAT) off of 25lbs of pork, this Gringa realized the job was too big to handle alone. That’s where I was secretly ecstatic that I got a call from Ruben’s parents letting me know that they were coming to “see if I needed any help with the chili”.  Heck, Ya!  I was in way over my head and I had bitten off more pork butt than I could chew.  When Ruben Sr. walked in and took over my kitchen, I was very relieved!  Christmas dinner was saved.

These days, Ruben’s folks are slowly letting go of control on this tradition, allowing us kids to learn how to make some of the crucial parts of the tamales and not only be a part of the assembly line.  This year I learned so much, even my Father-in-Law’s secret chili recipe.   I watched closely as he added palm full after palm full of salt, toasted sesame seeds, blended 5 different types of chilies together to create the perfect consistency.  All while I tried to get it on film and write it down.  He’d say “It’s all done to taste Mija, sometimes the chilies are bitter, sometimes they are hot.  You just have to have the final product in your mind and adjust as you go.”

Ruben’s whole family (except Joe, who was missed) was at the house.  Tommy really got in on the action this year, he is at his happiest when the family is together.  I just love that about him.

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Ruben - December 29, 2010 - 6:01 pm

Thank you for everything you do for our family to make these experiences even more memorable. The pictures are great (but the gringoisms take the cake…uh…tamale?).

Sonia - December 29, 2010 - 6:02 pm

So loved the blog sis! Brought tears to my eyes. I believe this is the first time we have EVER taken pictures of the tradition. It was a memorable night for me in that Tom joined the tradition. Love ya for your skills!

Noelle - December 29, 2010 - 7:33 pm

Just love it! Nothing like family! Miss you Rodarte Family! Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Love you!

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