Best. Chili. Ever.

Yesterday I was flipping through some cookbooks and ended up reading about chilis. Yes, I do actually just sit and read cookbooks sometimes…it’s just something I do now. Anyhow, while reading about chilis I decided to make…chili.

Working off a recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipe book, I cobbled together a shopping list (including stuff for breakfast), and wandered off into the snowy wilderness to gather supplies. The snowy wilderness in question happens to be The Glebe, and all the shops I needed to visit are within a 2 block walk of the condo. Not exactly an adventure, but nonetheless…

The local Loeb sufficed for the core ingredients — veggies and canned stuff — but the recent Mad Cow (BSE) scares have put me off normal ground beef for the time being, and they don’t seem to carry organic meats. A quick trip to the Glebe Meat Market secured 2 lbs of lean organic ground beef for the chili and a bracing bout of sticker shock for me. Organic ground beef is a good idea, yes, but goddamn it’s expensive. Might have to rethink this for the long term.

Popped into Kardish on the way home for small bags of kosher rock salt (for the grinder, finally), cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes. Didn’t have cash, so had to pick up a jar of tahini to get over the $5 minimum for Interac. The happy result of this being that I now have all the necessary ingredients for hummus tomorrow.

Got home and procrastinated for a while then ducked back out to Nicastros to pick up a bottle of higher grade olive oil (for said hummus) and some pitas. Ended up picking up a First Cold Pressed bottle of La Pugliesina unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, imported from (as you might suspect) Italy. I’ve never tried unfiltered olive oil before, so I figured I might give it a shot, being only $18 for a largish bottle. Google isn’t helping me find any info on the ‘net about it, so I’ll just have to post a review of it here later.

On to the chili. My modified recipe is over on the FoodWiki now, posted for the ages. It’s the best chili I’ve made that I can remember, although not quite as spicy-hot as I normally do. Next time I’ll be adding more heat, but cooking the spices with the vegetables (rather than just tossing them in with the tomatoes and beans) really made a difference. It has a much deeper, rounded, and earthier sort of heat — the Cook’s Illustrated people really do know what they’re doing.

Topped the chili with some grated 3 year old cheddar, and served with fresh multigrain from the bakery on the corner, along with a bottle of Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz (one of our two standard table wines). The chili is a bit overpowering for that wine, but it was a decent enough balance. Best part is that there’s plenty left over for at least another dinner and a few lunches (chili that is, not wine…that’s just about gone now). Yum.

Tomorrow is bacon + eggs with hashbrowns for breakfast, and hummus for lunch/snack. Probably chili for dinner, but we’ll see.

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