Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Fake Out Recipe #1: Witch's Wicked-Ass Caramelized Onion Chili

One of the things TheNewGirl vowed to do upon creating her blog was to share some of her Fake Out Recipes. There aren't many things TheNewGirl claims to be good at, but being one wicked cook is one of them. I'm particularly fond of creating recipes which taste like they're gourmet and slaved over, but aren't really. It's all very well and good to boast to your dinner guests about how you grew tomatoes in your back garden and squashed them with your bare feet in a giant barrel to make the sauce your guests are eating at that very moment, but in reality, who has time to do all that? It's my contention that slaving away and making everything from scratch is the reason why people say they hate cooking - it takes too damn long. And it can be way too expensive. I love great food, but I'm not rich. So enter, my Fake Out Recipes, which tend to be hearty, flavourful, comfort-food type dishes, without all the rigmarole - because I take lots of short cuts. I'm not afraid to open up a can of womp-ass (that's code for using canned ingredients). My recipes are very adaptable, so if you like to slave away, buy each and every thing to make it from scratch, or you're into eating tree bark, orange peels, rose petals, and tofu (i.e. you're a vegetarian), you can go for it and customize my recipes to your specifications. Also, I'm an American living abroad, so I'll be sure to appropriately note small differences like the use of grams versus oz, or names of ingredients. This recipe came about one time when we were so skint economically that I figured I'd better make something to last through a week of dinners. So please allow me to present tonight's recipe (once I'm finished blogging, this is tonight's dinner)...

Witch's Wicked-Ass Caramelized Onion Chili

Cooking time: About 1 hour and 45 minutes (but don't let that scare you - no need to babysit this meal)
Serves: A whole lotta folks or two greedy ones for several days!

First, find a BIG stew pot and a large wooden spoon. Ok, now you'll need the following ingredients:

(Optional) Rice, if you plan to serve it over rice (duh), but I like it on it's own in a bowl

(Optional) Cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top or sour cream

800 g (28 oz) Beef Mince (ground beef) - preferably 12% fat
400 g (14 oz) Vegetarian Mince (vegetarian ground beef substitute)


1200 g (42 oz) of either (I like to mix them, but you don't have to)

3 Large Red or Purple Onions

3 Bell Peppers

3 Cans of Beans: 1 Can of Red Kidney Beans and 2 Cans of Mixed Beans

4 Cans of Peeled Plum Tomatoes (or some sort of peeled tomatoes, I also like 1 of those cans to be cherry tomatoes sometimes)

1 Can of Sweet Corn (canned corn)

1 Can of Beer (8 to 10 oz will do)

900 ml (approx. 32 oz) of Chicken Stock (or Vegetable Stock for you tree bark eaters)

A BIG Dollop of of BBQ Sauce - like 4 Tbsp (I use Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, or Newman's Own)

7 tsp of Garlic Paste OR 7 tsp of Chopped Garlic will do

1/2 tsp Salt (Kosher Salt is nice)

1/8 tsp of Pepper

 1/2 cup of Demerara Sugar (or Light Brown Sugar)

1/4 - 1/8 cup of Chili Powder - or a bit less or a bit more - depends on how hot you want it, I like it milder

1 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp  Dried Thyme

1 tsp Dried Rosemary

(Optional) 1/2 Tsp of Coriander or Cilantro (I'm allergic, so I can't use these... but they're yummy too)

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil

1 to 2 Tbsp of Butter

An Extra Dash of Salt (for the meat)

An Extra Dash of Pepper (for the meat)

A Dash of HP Sauce (for the meat)(if you're in America and you can't find HP, just use more BBQ)

3 Extra Tbsp of Demerara Sugar (or Light Brown Sugar) for the Onions


Set aside a half of a can of beans. Combine the rest of the ingredients, the tomatoes, beans, and corn into the big pot and set aside.

Using the dash of salt, pepper, and HP sauce, season the mince (ground beef).

Coat a large pan in oil, and cook the mince (ground beef), adding the vegetarian mince towards the end. Cook fairly thoroughly, though you're welcome to leave the meat slightly pink, as it will cook through once stewed with everything else.

Add the cooked mince to the other ingredients in the pot.

Chop the 3 onions and the 3 peppers separately.

Using the same pan you used for the mince, add the butter and the 3 extra Tbs of sugar and cook the onions over medium heat until they brown and maybe slightly sticky - this is caramelizing, and this is the key.

Next add the the 3 chopped peppers to the onions, and also add all of the seasonings/spices and cook for about 4 minutes, constantly stirring.

Add this onion/pepper/spice mixture to the big pot with the other ingredients.

Reserve about a cup of chicken stock (8oz) and combine this with the half can of beans and mash this mixture up into a pulp, then set aside.

Take the remaining chicken stock and pour it into the pot with the other ingredients.

Pour the beer into the pot with the other ingredients.

Add the BBQ sauce to the pot with the other ingredients.

Stir all the ingredients in the pot and start cooking it over a medium flame, allowing it to come to a gentle boil, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. You should have a simmer going. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the chicken broth/beans pulp to the pot and stir well.

Cook for at least another 40 minutes over a medium low flame, or until the whole thing reduces considerably.

Again, serve over rice, on its own with a bit of cheddar cheese or sour cream on top, or go for "Chili-Cheee-Fry" like I do on a Friday night! That's chips (french fries), topped with lots of cheese, chili, and ketchup on the side.

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