Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chili and frybread

Well, the day went better after the morning.

I solved a computer problem for one student, who exclaimed, "What would I do without you?" (And I thought, get ready, because you are planning on going to grad school....). And I helped another finish up the last lab, and he commented that my labs were the "funnest" ones he had at the university. (He also said he enjoyed saying or doing things in lab to make me laugh. I don't know if he saw it as a challenge getting me to laugh....I have known a few people in my past who seemed to make it their mission to crack me up. Which is actually kind of a good feeling, because I can kind of get stuck in my own headspace a lot and not smile or laugh because I get so mired in what I'm trying to get done)

I didn't have piano this afternoon - my teacher got a migraine and asked to reschedule for Friday, which is better for me any way. (I really wasn't feeling it for today. I'm working now on Brahms' Waltz in A major, and some of the reaches I just have to get used to. They're not excessive for my hands but I need to be well warmed-up for them to be comfortable)

Dinner tonight will be easy. I made chili and frybread last night, and I have chili left over, and I have corn taco shells, so I'll heat up a couple of those and put chili in them. And maybe have a salad on the side.

How I do chili these days:

maybe 1-2 T good olive oil
1 pound ground bison (could be ground beef, ground chicken, prepared's flexible)
1 16 ounce can reduced-sodium pinto beans
1 8 ounce can low-sodium or no salt added tomato sauce
1 small can (?6 ounces?) tomato paste (this is optional, sometimes I leave it out)
garlic powder, maybe 1/4 t, or you could dice up a clove of garlic if you prefer
chili powder (as much as you want, I probably use about a tablespoon but I don't like things hot and I use a mild chili powder - Penzey's is very good and has no salt)
Penzey's Arizona Dreaming (a southwestern spice blend). Maybe 1/2 teaspoon
cumin, maybe a teaspoon, maybe more.

(I do the spices by eye so I don't have real amounts. Anyway, you can put in more if you want it spicier. The cumin is important because it gives a salty taste without adding salt).

So. I brown the meat in the olive oil, then add the spices. After it's all browned, I add the canned stuff and simmer it over very low heat for maybe a half hour. It cooks down.

I know some chiliheads would say this isn't "real" chili because it has beans and tomatoes in it, but I'm a Northerner and that's kind of how we make chili. (Also, the recipes in my Arizona Highways cookbook tend to call for tomatoes and beans, so maybe it's Arizona chili rather than Texas chili).

You can also put onions in but I actually prefer my chili without them.

This makes a fair amount - a pound of meat and a pound of beans. It would probably serve six, eight if you had other things like a big salad. It keeps me for the better part of a week for dinners.

I also made frybread last night. This is a "Generic Native American" food in that a lot of tribes seem to make it (I've seen it presented as Navajo, as Hopi, but also the Choctaws around here make it). It's kind of like a deep-fried biscuit. It's not that good for you (I don't make it often), but it sure tastes good, especially with chili and sour cream on top of it:

Small portion:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
tiny dash salt (or more, if you're not limiting - up to maybe 1/2 t)
2 t oil (this is more than the recipe calls for but the smaller amount is harder to work in evenly)
1/4 cup (or more; I find it often takes more as it's dry here) warm water

You mix the stuff up - blend the oil into the dry ingredients before adding the water. Knead for five minutes, let sit for at least 20. Then you heat up a pan of oil (maybe 3/4 inch deep) and break off golf ball sized chunks of the dough and flatten it. You fry it on both sides until it's golden brown.

This plus chili (or beans) and tomato, onion, and lettuce is what is often called an "Indian taco" around here. Personally, I prefer the salad on the side, so I usually just put the chili on the bread, with a little chipotle sauce and some sour cream.

The fry bread makes enough for two people (or one very hungry person who then eats a piece or two of frybread with honey for dessert). It's not that good leftover.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I have never understood that thing, "Texas chili has no beans or tomatoes". I grew up in Texas and chili always had beans and usually tomatoes. Where are these people getting this?!