The sudden plunge in overnight temperatures this weekend had me yearnin' for some chili. So I fetched my main cauldron out of the bottom cabinet and commenced to brewin'.
My chili recipe is a left-brained cook's nightmare. There is no neat list of precise ingredients. Forget those little ramekins lined up on the counter, eagerly waiting to divulge their exact measures. Like a snowflake, each pot of Hillbilly Mom's chili is unique. Or very unique, as those annoying people who don't have a grasp on word meanings might say.
I start with a packet of chili seasoning. What do you think this is, a gourmet kitchen? Very little is done from scratch here. You remember my cooking style, right? Warming things in the oven or heating them in the microwave? Yeah.
I pour in a can of tomato sauce, and a can of diced tomatoes. Except for today, because in spite of enough canned goods in my pantry hoard to survive the apocalypse until roaches and rats unfurl a white flag, I had neither. So I used a small jar of pizza sauce.
Next come the beans. Two cans of chili beans. Plus one can of dark kidney beans and one can of light. Except that the light chili beans were in a dented can at the Devil's checkout, so I pawned them off on the checker and refused to add a new ingredient, botulism, to my chili. A can of Save A Lot baked beans is required. And a can of black-eyed peas.
Now we commence with the sauces. A dash of Worcestershire. A shake of steak sauce. A dollop of hickory barbecue sauce. A glug of Heinz 57. Several shakes of Franks Original Hot Wing sauce. A squirt of ketchup.
Minced garlic adds a nice tang. Maybe a spoonful. Some fresh-ground black pepper. Until my thumb gets tired of holding down the grinding button.
Four packets of Splenda to take away the twang.
A couple of pounds of browned and drained ground beef.
A whole onion, diced and sweated until clear.
Mmm...supper, tomorrow's supper, topping for chili dogs, and a quart for Grandma.
That's Hillbilly Mom's 17-Ingredient Chili. This time.