Thursday, October 20, 2011

When I have a large project, I tend to make a lot of something and keep it in the fridge so that I don't need to worry as much about cooking. With my first two novels, the last acts were written on a diet of jalapeno cheeseburgers. I'd buy a package of ground beef, divide it into patties, and whenever I got hungry, I'd get up from the computer, slap a patty on the cast-iron, get a plate and a bun and a Barq's red creme, flip the patty and put a slice of cheese and some Old El Paso pickled jalapenos on it, wait for the cheese to melt, pop the patty on the bun, eat the burger, drink the soda, and go back to the book.

I am not finishing a novel right now. But it's a good time of year for spice, and I have a large project.

Smoky beef chili

Cover fresh shell beans (or dry, they'll just cook longer) with salted water and add a couple cloves of garlic and a couple dried mushrooms. Place in stovetop smoker and smoke until fully cooked. Let cool in liquid. Remove mushrooms. (The mushrooms add earthiness to the beans.)

Put six or seven cherry peppers in the smoker and smoke until roasted. Let cool. Remove stems.

2-3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
1 pound hot sausage

Dry ingredients:
Wick Fowler's 2-alarm chili mix (just the chili seasoning, not the rest) or similar chili seasonings
A little salt

Wet ingredients:
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles
Smoke-roasted cherry peppers
Smoked bean cooking liquid
15-20 cloves of garlic
Two kimchi garlic scapes

Green tomato kimchi
Corn kimchi
1-2 cups butternut squash, diced

Blend wet ingredients together very well.

Brown meat in large pan, in batches. Really do it in batches - just enough to cover the bottom of the pan each time - so that the meat browns, instead of steaming in its liquid.

Combine browned meat, dry ingredients, wet ingredients, a handful of corn kimchi and a few diced kimchi green tomatoes, cover with water, cover pan with foil, and bake at 350 for a couple hours.

Smoky beef chili

Remove foil, add butternut squash, and bake for another hour or so, until chili liquid has reduced and squash is fully cooked.

Serve doused with cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.

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