When my husband and I met, his dinner repertoire consisted of pot roast, chilli, sausage with Spanish Style Rice a Roni and stuff between two sandwiches. Oh, and a recipe for a family sweet potato casserole. The first meal he ever made for me was his pot roast. Every now and then, when I don’t want to cook, I buy a roast and make him cook.
Now, the thing with his recipes is, I have changed every one of them, including the traditional family recipe for the sweet potato casserole. However, he likes all my changes and claims that since I make them better now, I should just cook them! Yeah, shot myself in the foot with that one.
A few months back I came to the startling conclusion that my husband is one of the “masses.” Let me explain: one evening we were both craving pie so against my better judgement, I let him pick up a couple of pies from a local chain of restaurant bakeries who apparently “excel” in pies. We ordered a strawberry rhubarb and a coconut cream. They were, by far, the worst pies I have ever tasted. How can you screw up a simple pie like strawberry rhubarb? Oh, but they managed. It had a gloppy consistency with slimy strawberries and an awful, chemical tasting crust. The coconut cream tasted like vanilla pudding stuck in a crust with a few sprinkles of coconut on top.
I realised that these restaurants sell these pies just fine because the masses don’t know the difference. When I complained about the pie to my husband, he said it wasn’t bad; and that’s when I knew, my husband is one of the masses. He knows bad food and he knows really good food, but everything in between is a little murky! Or, maybe it’s just that he loves dessert so much, he doesn’t complain, good or bad, as long as it’s sweet!
One thing he can tell the difference between is the change I made to his chilli recipe and he loves my way so much better (there is hope for him.) Most chilli is made with beef mince/ground beef with beans. I don’t like mince, I never have. I think it’s the texture. If I use mince, it’s usually formed into a solid structure of some kind, like kebab or meatballs etc.
Since I had issues with the texture of the chilli, I changed out the mince to boneless beef. I just cook the beef chunks till very tender and then shred the meat. Add the meat to the beans and tomato gravy and you have one delicious beef chilli.
If I have the time and I have thought ahead, I like to soak the beans and make them from scratch. This way you get all the tasty bean juice to add to the chilli and the chilli takes on a wonderfully, creamy consistency. However, using tinned beans is fine and most of the time I am not that organised to have thought ahead! You will just have to add water or broth and adjust the consistency to your liking. The spice and heat of the chilli is up to you too.
I made a big pot of chilli on a Sunday and we ate it straight up as chilli with sour cream, cheese and onions. On Tuesday, it became my quick pasta meal.
BEEF CHILLI WITH PASTA
2lbs/1kg boneless beef cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 large tins (28/32oz) kidney beans
2 large tins pinto/chilli beans
1 large tin crushed tomatoes ( you can add more tomatoes if you like it more tomatoey)
5 garlic cloves, minced
4/6 tablespoons chilli powder (not hot chilli/cayenne, but for chilli)
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (or less for mild)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablepoons ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups water or broth to adjust consitency
salt and pepper
In a pressure cooker, brown the onions and add half of the garlic till fragrant.
Add 2 tablespoons of the chilli powder and cook a bit.
Add the meat and brown slightly, doesn’t need to be too done.
Add the 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 20 minutes till fall apart tender.
When cool, shred the meat and put back into the juices.
Alternatively, you can cook the beef in a slow cooker or on the stove top.
It will take about and hour or more to tenderise to shreds.
While the meat is cooking, in another large pot, simmer the beans and tomatoes together.
Add two tablespoons of chilli powder, the remaining half of the garlic, cayenne powder and the cumin powder.
Stir around and cook for a minute or two.
Add the water and bring up to a simmer.
Once it begins to thicken, add the meat with the juices.
If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more water and continue to simmer, for twenty minutes.
Check for seasonings. If you want to add the extra chilli powder, add it now.
Add the ketchup and brown sugar.
Stir through and check for consistency and seasoning.
It should be spicy and sweet with a little tang.
Boil pasta according to packet instructions. Drain.
Enjoy pasta with heaping ladle of chilli on top.
Serve with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheese and onions, if desired.
This really helped me out on Tuesday because all I had to do was boil pasta and dinner was done.
So, here’s a question: how picky are you when it comes to eating out? Am I being unreasonable or too picky when I dislike something and yet, others are ok with it?
What is the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?