My New England-style chili recipe, in photos:
(NB: when I make this at VP, it's made with turkey and beans, and I sub in cashew butter because of peanut allergies and hatreds.)
Get some fat. Put it in a pan.
The fat I used today came from roasting a marrowbone. If you do use beef tallow, yay! (Bacon grease is also good, if you are feeding pork eaters.) What? It's chili, people.
Olive oil, also possible. If you're some kind of health freak.
You know what those are. The one you can't read is sweet California Basil; the one with no label is bay. If you didn't know that, learn what bay looks like. To taste, but I use twice as much ancho and oregano as everything else. If you are the sort of person who does not believe this is spicy enough, I'm sure you have some cayenne and crushed reds in the cabinet. Fix it.
Those are so pretty, let's look at them up close.
Bloom the spices other than the Aleppo (or crushed reds) and the garlic powder over low heat in the fat.
Chili also needs salt, and I put in some smoked salt too, because I had it and smoky chili --> yum.
You could also use commercial chili powder if you liked, but mine is better.
If you were not cooking for my mom, you could use cilantro.
That marrowbone? If you have it, put it in.
If you rendered bacon for fat, chop or crumble that and put it in.
Meanwhile, brown your meat in a medium-hot skillet in small batches, making sure you give it plenty of time to develop a nice fond.
This is a fond:
It does not matter what kind of meat you use. I have made this from hamburger, venison, stew beef, veal, turkey--
Drain the fat off the meat and set it aside. Put the meat in the chili pot. The size of your chili pot depends on how much meat you are putting into it. Add the rest of the spices.
Get one of these (your preferred brand) and do this with it:
This is called "deglazing the pan." Doesn't that sound fancy? Scrape your spoon or spatula across the bottom of the pan to release the fond and get it mixed in with the beer.
Put the deglazing fluid in the chili pot.
Get some of this and add about this much to the pot:
If you do not have that, you can use chicken broth or water. If you have home-made beef stock, so much the better.
(The pot stays over medium-low heat the whole time.)
Put a little more fat in your now nice clean skillet and put some onions and garlic in it. If you have two skillets, you could have done this already, while browning the meat:
Sautee the onions and garlic over low heat until they are translucent. Add them to the chili pot. If you burn them, start over.
If you want beans in this batch, take your canned (or soaked and precooked) beans and add them now.
If not, do no such thing.
Tomatoes, fresh or canned, crushed or whole or chopped:
And some other things. This is the secret bit. Hardly any of that first thing, and only a block or a half a block of that last. That's hippie peanut butter.
Those yellow lumps in the chili are chunks of potato, because I forgot I wasn't adding beans and oversaulted. They come out before serving, if you need them.
This is what makes it New England Style, if you happen to leave out the beans:
Grade B Dark Amber if you can get it. Enough to give the chili just a hint of sweetness. Maybe a quarter cup. If you do not have real maple syrup, use brown sugar or molasses.
No, really. Would I lie to you?
Cook it uncovered until it's thick, then cover it and simmer it on low until the onions dissolve completely.
Eat. With cornbread, or rice, or tortillas, or whatever.