Cooking Louisiana  -  Jack's Chili
This is a simple Chili recipe, but it takes a long time. I usually give myself 3 to 4 hours to complete it. This recipe has no seasoning tricks or secrets. Its good flavor starts with the sauce preparation. To me the sauce is the basis for the final outcome no mater what seasonings you use.

Cooking Stuff:

5 lbs. Ground beef, chuck, venison, whatever you like. (See Note 1 below)
5 packages of chili mix (buy two different brands.. I like McCormick and the store brand.)
Note: 1 pkg. is usually formulated for 1 lb. of meat. Buy accordingly. See note 4 below.

1 lg. onion chopped
1 Bell Pepper chopped
5 - 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 - 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes (Cajun or Mexican), or, Rotel
3 bay leaves
3 toes of garlic diced (more if you like)
Vegetable or Olive oil to coat bottom of the pot (3 - 4 tbs.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar (neutralizes the acid in the tomatoes)

On a medium heat sauté onions for about 15 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for an additional 15 minutes or so. I recommend using a spatula to cook this dish because scraping the entire bottom of the pot is extremely important.

Start adding the tomato sauce a half a can at a time. Here's where it gets tedious! Stir the mixture every 3 - 4 minutes so it doesn't burn (adjust your fire if needed). The reason for doing this is to cook the moisture out of the sauce, then, to "scorch" the sauce a little. Scorching the sauce occurs when you can see it almost "fry". Don't confuse this with burning it! You should also notice it turn a little darker red as this happens.

I cook almost all of the moisture out then go on to scorch it for about 15 minutes stirring frequently.

Note: The reason for adding a little at a time is so you won't have to fight "tomato sauce volcanoes". If you know a better way, go for it!

Let's go on....
About mid-way through the sauce cooking ordeal you can brown the ground beef. When I say "brown", I don't mean to just make it turn brown. I mean to actually "sear" it until at least 1/4 of it turns "dark brown" (not burnt). This adds flavor. Drain the fat from it and set it aside. When finished add a little water to the browning pot and deglaze it to get the browned residue to mix with the water. Add the water to the chili sauce (more flavor).

Once you're happy with the sauce add the meat and bay leaves, and, start adding a few cups of water at a time stirring well. Add the packaged seasoning one pack at a time along with a little more water. Add water until you like the consistency. Some like it thick, some like it thin. If you like beans in your chili add em'. Add the sugar.

Continue to cook for 30 minutes then begin tasting. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Simmer an additional 30 minutes or longer. REMEMBER, you can always ADD seasoning. Once you screw it up by adding too much it's all over! Taste and adjust, taste and adjust, taste and adjust!!!!!


Note 1: You can mix meats such as 3/4 ground beef and 1/4 fresh sausage) Don't use too much sausage, it dominates the taste.

Note 2: If you enjoy big chunks of onion and/or bell pepper you can add this at the end. Be sure to continue cooking the chili until the large veggies are soft. (about 15 minutes)

Note 3: I throw in hot dogs and, if I have it, a link of venison or fresh sausage. Cook the sausage on the side, or, allow the proper time for it to cook in the sauce.

Note 4: If you have a "Special, Secret Chili Seasoning" use it instead of the packaged seasoning. You're on your own on this!

Note 5: You can reduce or increase this recipe. This recipe will feed about 15 "normal" adults. (1 lb. of meat per 3 persons). Freeze what is left over.

Bon' Appetite'