Archive | July, 2013

Colorado Red Chili

12 Jul

Front Range Memory WDCT

I ate lots of chili while I was growing up in Colorado.  But I came by this chili recipe from an unconventional source, a folksinger  named Francis Love,* who played the banjo and sang in local venues in Pueblo, like the Irish Pub. While she sang, her husband, Alan Love (professor of Political Science) was back in the kitchen, cooking chalupas for everyone to eat at midnight.  (But that’s another story and another recipe.) When some professors and students at Southern Colorado State College started a coffeehouse above a small bookstore, Francis agreed to perform there too. As a bonus, she brought along a big pot of home-made chili to serve at the coffeehouse. It was great chili, so I asked how she made it. She told me and I took notes. (I was getting married soon and was collecting recipes.) And this is how I have made red chili ever since.

Colorado Red Chili

Chop one large onion and put it in a soup kettle and saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil. When the onion starts to brown, add one pound of hamburger meat.  Season with 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp.pepper.  As the meat browns, add 2 T chili powder and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add two large cans tomatoes with liquid (approx, 32 oz each can). You can cut up the tomatoes by running a knife through them while they are still in the can.  Then add two cans of pinto beans (approx. 16 oz each can), with the liquid.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer gently for about one hour. Taste and add more chili powder if needed . If you want more chili, just double the recipe.

Serve with white tortillas

Some tips: the choice of chili powder is very important.  I like classic chili powder (no additional other flavors). And use good canned tomatoes, or good fresh tomatoes  if you have them.  You can cook your own pinto beans (as I did as in when I lived in married student housing) but canned pinto beans are fine.

And for every palate:

If you like it very hot, you can experiment by adding with other types of red chilis, but go easy!

If you don’t eat red meat, ground turkey works fine.

If you want a meat-free chili: ground meat substitute made from soy works fine, but instead I suggest  just adding another chopped onion, and an additional can (2 cups) of pinto beans. If you want a richer flavor, try adding 1T balsamic vinegar or 1T cocoa powder (yes, really) .

If you don’t want to eat gluten: The chili is already gluten free.  There are gluten-free flour tortillas on the market, but so far I haven’t found any that I like well enough to recommend for this.  Instead, substitute large corn tortilla chips.  Blue corn tortilla chips are a nice option for a party.

This is great for a cold winter’s night in Colorado, or anywhere else.

*If you want to know more about Francis Love, follow this link to read an interview with her musical partner Mike Dunn. There is a link to a recording so you can hear her sing.

Image is “Front Range Memories” by Randa Dubnick

written by Randa Dubnick

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