Ode To Superbowl Chili

Chili….a stew of sorts with beef, vegetables and spices!
It has become a time honoured staple on cold winter days and of course the Superbowl. I have shared with you my recipe for fresh chili that I actually make at Fresco Cafe and Catering. Even though my beloved San Francisco 49’ers will not be making a re-appearance this year, I will still watch and enjoy Fresco chili with my family.
Now guys, I know that each of you have a tradition of making the “best” chili. It becomes a game to make the meanest, hottest, nostril snorting, throat closing chili for your friends. Heck it’s even kind of funny to watch as they take the first bite and claim to tell you “best chili ever” as they try to catch their breath and slug back multiple beers at the same time.
That was fun when we were young but now the Super bowl has become one of the most watched sporting events by men, women and children…yup it’s become a family focused event.
My chili is simple, easy to make, requires fresh ingredients and can be adaptable (spicy) to your crowd or liking. My guests enjoy the smoky bacon, subtle sweet flavour that off sets the slightly acidic plum tomatoes, and the fresh spices (they enjoy but can’t quite seem to identify….ah the “secret ingredient” cinnamon.
The only requirement is that you handpick fresh vegetables for your chili and please use fresh garlic not the minced garbage in oil. If you take the time to pick your ingredients and prepare them with care, your end product will be superior. Your guests and family will notice the difference.
For your Neanderthal guests that enjoy chili coming out of their nose, give them a bottle of tabasco with the chili.

I enjoy ripple plain chips, fresh bread, nacho chips or even naan bread with my chili, but you can accompany whatever you wish.

Enjoy. Chef Paul
Fresco Cafe and Catering

Fresco Cafe Chili

2 oz. vegetable oil

1 large Vidalia Onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium carrots peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
10 ripe, Roma tomatoes, diced
6 buds of fresh garlic, minced
Fresh thyme (leaves, no stalks)
Bay leaves
1/2 tbsp. of cinnamon
1/2 cup of amber sugar ( do not use white)
White pepper, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
tobasco, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

1 lb. of lean ground beef
8 strips of bacon, diced

14 ml can Maple Pork and Beans
14 ml can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
14 ml can Chick Peas
4oz ketchup
4oz Renee Honey Garlic BBQ sauce
19 oz. can of tomato puree
Small can of tomato paste

Method:
1. Have all your ingredients prepared. Diced the vegetables, bacon, open the cans etc.
2. In a stock pot, add veg oil and begin to sweat bacon (do not crisp or over cook, you want the taste of the smoky bacon). Add lean ground beef and stir constantly until light brown. I always add a few ounces of water to the beef so it stays moist and does not overcook.
3. Add carrots, onions and celery to beef and bacon. Sweat for two minutes. Add sweet potato and sweat for 1 minute. Finally add peppers, tomatoes, garlic, sugar and thyme.
4. Add pork and beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, tomato sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce and tomato paste. Cook until starting to simmer.
5. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, white pepper, sea salt, tobasco, chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir everything well. Taste and add more seasonings if necessary.
6. Simmer for 1 hour stirring often so it does not burn on the bottom. Remove from heat. Best to prepare the day before serving.

Yields 15 bowls

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Potatoes, it doesn’t get more basic than that!

When I think about my childhood and potatoes, I have memories of boiled, somewhat dry starch. Not that they tasted bad, but butter, salt and pepper could have gone a long way to help the flavour and texture of the mashed or boiled that we had at least 4-5 times a week.
Potatoes have a long history and have been a staple food items since the 1400’s. Potatoes are the fourth most used crop behind rice and maize.
It was not until my early cooking days did I come to appreciate potatoes. Young cooks and culinary students come out of school and for whatever reason have an outlook like they have nothing left to learn. I also inherited this attitude. It was not until I had the opportunity to work a very strict European trained executive chef that changed my attitude very quickly on the subject of “potatoes” specifically.
One day working along side, Chef asked me to name a few classic potatoes. On the spot and totally intimidated I answered “baked, scallop, roast, mashed”. Chef just looked at me straight faced and said with his strong Austrian accent “tomorrow name 10 classic potatoes for me” and walked away. That evening I searched all my school books (no google back then) and presented my finding to Chef the next day. He said “good! Today we make them and tomorrow you name 10 more”. This went on and on for over a month. He took the time each day to carefully help me prepare each style of potato daily until he was satified that I could prepare each one myself. He also did this with vegetables and meats but that’s a different story. I have come to appreciate potatoes in many styles and forms, prepared with hundreds of possibilities.
Do some research and enjoy some of the possibilities one of the most basic food items can completely changed your meal tonight.

Enjoy
Chef Paul
Fresco Cafe and Catering