Autumn is upon us, and thus begins the season for chili. I have been making the Mighty Moose Chili for many years now, and while I have my own variations on how I fix it, the original recipe belongs to my friend Marty Moose' Lockhart. We both share a penchant for spicy foods, and so we both make this sure chili is pretty warm in that sense .....
The Mighty Moose is a Cincinnati-style chili and contains many ingredients (cinnamon, vermicelli, etc.) that are particular to the city's famous chili.
-1/2 lb. ground beef or venison
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
-3 Tbsp chili powder
-1 Tsp cinnamon
-1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
-Black pepper to taste
-4-8 drops Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce (WARNING: this stuff is dangerous and made ONLY for cooking ... to not go overboard with it .... the prescribed amount will be PLENTY)
-1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chilis (undrained)
-1 can dark red kidney beans (undrained)
-1 can black beans (undrained)
-1-2 cups (approx.) vermicelli
-1 lager-style Beer
-Shredded cheddar and chopped onions to top chili
A note on the ingredients: those listed here yield a medium-size pot of chili, big enough for about four hefty servings for a single individual (it is GREAT for lunch leftovers). If you are fixing chili for a larger group, simply adjust the ingredients as necessary.
Crack a beer, turn up some tunes and get to work ....
In a large pot, turn heat up to medium. Add chopped onion, pepper and meat. Saute until meat browns, drain mixture if necessary, and return to pot. Maintaining heat, add canned tomatoes and beans, stirring well to mix. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.
Next, add the chili powder, cinnamon, black pepper, Dave's Insanity, and crushed red pepper. Stir well to mix and allow to simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste mixture after it has simmered awhile and adjust spices to taste if necessary.
The longer chili simmers, the more the spices, meat and vegetables have time to 'come together.' If you are into a longer simmer, you may consider reducing heat, as you don't want the chili to begin sticking to the bottom of the pot.
When it has simmer sufficiently, it is time to add the pasta. First, open the beer and pour at least 1/2 the can into the chili (enough to cook the vermicelli). Then, add the pasta keep an eye on things while it softens, stirring as needed.
Add more of the beer if necessary, otherwise, finish it off yourself. When the pasta has cooked and the chili has reached a good consistency, give it a good stir and reduce heat to low.
You are ready to eat!
Ladle chili into a bowl or onto a large plate, and top with chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese. If you're into hot sauce on your chili, you can't go wrong with the original Tabasco brand.
Get another beer, put some crackers or tortilla chips on the side, and you are all good.
Tonight's music: Dave Matthews Band Big Whiskey and the GruGrux King and Rilo Kiley More Adventurous.
Tech Tip: Get an iPhone.