There was a lot of "some of this some of that" adjustment as the chili was being prepared.
The inspiration for this chili came from one of the wonderful people who stay with us, our friend Tom. Thank you, Tom! We thought the idea of PB&J chili was nuts 'till we tried it and now we love it, too! Apparently so do several hundred people in Lake County who helped judge the chili competition.
One of the things you'll want to do is find a local butcher shop for your meat - don't go to the big supermarkets. Their rancher's whatever meat is generally one step above dog food. Go to a real butcher shop that only sells USDA Prime and that also grinds their own hamburger. Trust me.
The same is true of spices. The stuff in most grocery stores doesn't have that punch - it's there because it's cheap. Instead, let me recommend a taste bud changing experience in Savory Spice Shop in Santa Rosa. Fortunately, you can also buy on line.
So, here's how it works:
Butterfly your jalapeño and bell pepper, removing all the innards and seeds. Coat them with olive oil and grill them lightly on a hot bbq grill so that they've got nice grill marks on them. Then finely chop these guys as they've got a date with a pot of chili.
We're back to the big pot so in that pot:
Cook your flat iron steak first - when it starts to heat-up throw in the first chopped onion, the bell pepper and some garlic.
lightly cover your flat irons and onion with some chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper
Once the flat irons and onions are beginning to get done stir in the raw sausage.
When the sausage is starting to get browned, throw on your ground beef. This is the time for the other onion and some more garlic. You can't go wrong with too much onion and garlic, at least not to me.
Cover and mix only occasionally until the meat is close to done. Over mixing will destroy the meat's texture and that's part of the equation here.
When all the meat's done nicely drain off most of the fat. You'll have enough fat left over to grease the entire Pacific fleet for a while.
Then throw in the tomatoes and the jalapeño and another round of all the spices to taste. This is why there's no real recipe, you just have to adjust to taste.
Once everything's hot it's time for a nice big spoon of that cheap grape jelly. Trust me, this cuts the acidity of the tomatoes. Also, you can put in a spoon of the peanut butter. Mix these in well.
Lower the heat and just let it sit there - the longer the better. When it's fantastic, you're ready to please some taste buds.
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