So it's the hottest summer since 1980, and we decided it was the perfect time to make chili. Most of you realize the heat index has been hovering around 117-degrees as of late, so you may be questioning our sanity at this point. Don't worry. We are, too.
But, we decided to make Ree Drummond's Simple, Perfect Chili (p. 82), despite the steamy weather outside. We figured it's summer. Let's make baseball food. Chili cheese dogs it was. Ree's chili is a basic beef chili, and she also lists optional ingredients, such as beans, jalapenos, diced tomatoes and chilis. Some in our little foodie group are bean-opposed. We decided to keep it simple - and perfect.
We started by browning two pounds of Uncle He-Man's ground beef (we're still working on that half-a-cow in his freezer), along with some minced garlic. The smell was worth it right there, enough to perk up the guys and bring them into the kitchen.
Our beef was lean, so we did not need to drain any excess grease. We poured in an eight-ounce can of tomato sauce. Don't worry, that's the sauce, not Lou's sauce. Eww...no graphic horror films here.
This was followed by the spices.They included oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt.
These were mixed together.
This was left to simmer for about an hour.
After the hour was up, we added the secret ingredient: masa. Remember how we went on-and-on about the anthropology of corn in our grits post? Well, masa is the little sister to grits. It is a finely ground, Mexican corn flour. We added a quarter-cup of masa to a half-cup of water to form a thick paste.
This was added to the simmering chili. Because our beef was so lean, we decided to add a little water at this point. Then it looked like Ree's picture. We were feeling a little more confident.
We topped Nathan's hot dogs with cheese and P-Dub's chili. We also brought out homemade, canned bread-and-butter jalapenos, as if things weren't hot enough already. This was the perfect All-American meal for a summer evening.
By the end of the meal, we were all using The Bean's lingo, "More hawt dawgs?"