It’s a grey, dreary day in Austin with some occasional rain storms. The cool, damp weather and a lingering craving for chili after a discussion of it over the weekend led me to try my hand at chili… well that and I wanted an excuse for cornbread 😉

Once my mind was made up it occurred to me I don’t know the last time I actually made chili (at least a year maybe three) nor do I have a tried and true chili recipe. In my mind, chili is much like BBQ, those who make it well have spent years perfecting their prized concoctions, adding their secret special ingredients or using a unique technique. I’m also not sure I have a clear understanding of just what makes chili chili?

There is no-bean chili, white chili, 3-bean chili, turkey chili and the list goes on and on but what is it that makes it chili? I suspect I could research the origins of chili, try to determine the best techniques or test various recipes but, as mentioned earlier, it’s raining and people in Austin have issues with driving in such harsh conditions so I wanted to get out and back before the schools started letting out and traffic started to build… that said I went to the store, bought some meat and headed home to play in the kitchen.

So I knew my chili would have meat and ended up buying coarse ground chuck and some other diced meat pieces with the inspiring sticker “Fine for Stewing”, I also thought my chili should have beans so I checked the pantry and found black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. While at a pool party on Sunday, some friends were discussing chili and one mentioned using Shiner Bock in a particularly good batch so I grabbed a can of Guinness from the fridge. I had also seen someone using coffee in chili so I brewed a strong cup of Joe to throw in the mix. I also included diced onions and bell peppers (sauteed in bacon grease 🙂 ), minced garlic and chili pepper, chili powder, salt and pepper, some chili sauce from the back of the pantry, sriracha, diced tomatoes and tomato puree.

While browning the chuck, I tossed the other meat in a zipper bag with a little corn starch, salt, pepper and chili powder, then browned it as well. I realized the original pot I chose wasn’t going to hold all that I planned to include so I pulled out the big guns and started to saute the bell pepper, onion, garlic and chili pepper in a bit of bacon grease. I added the rest of the items and started to let things mingle. Originally i used two cans of diced tomato but threw in a third for good measure. I also decided I needed a bit more sweet and tangy so I threw in a little margarita mix and a bit of Mole powder.

My pot of chili, or whatever you want to call it, is simmering away on the stove. So far it’s developing a nice rich flavor, a bit of heat and has the nice thick texture that i envision chili having. Fingers are crossed on the final outcome but if nothing else at least I have an excuse to make cornbread!!