Cooking with a friend is something I don’t get to experience much these days, but I have to say it is one of my favorite things, such a treat. Let me back up – my friend Jen (Eating & Drinking in Ptown) and her boyfriend Nick came for a visit this weekend and we had such a blast. We got dressed up for a Halloween party on Saturday night and whooped it up with a big group of friends. There was some karaoke, some dancing, lots of laughing, cocktails galore and awesome costumes.
The next morning wasn’t pretty. I never go to bed with a messy kitchen, but above pic is how it stayed until Nick cleaned it up at around 3pm (thanks Nick!). Dim Sum and a slice at Pagliacci helped us get it together and then we had to tackle the dinner menu as we were having our other best friend Farrah and her family over for dinner. Cold fall day, nursing a little bit of a hangover, nothing better than a big ‘ole pot of chili. We wanted to make enough for the nine of us (5 adults & 4 kiddos) and have leftovers, so that meant a huge batch! I love to cook, but cooking with my best friend along side me in the kitchen with me was such a delight. BONUS – she has some awesome cooking tips I want to share (she went to the French Culinary Institute in NYC and is a pretty amazing cook).
Chili Con Carne Con Amigos – serves 8 with leftovers
- 3lbs lean ground beef (85%/15% – a little fat is good for chili)
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 head garlic, chopped
- 4 cans kidney beans, drained
- 2 cans black beans, drained
- 1 16oz bottle of beer (something hoppy)
- 1 can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes with juice
- Cumin to taste
- Chili Powder to taste
- Cholula (or other hot sauce) to taste
- Salt & Pepper
- In a very large pot, brown ground beef in enough oil to coat the pan, seasoning the meat with salt & pepper
- Once beef is no longer pink, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and drain the fat drippings, but leave enough to sautee the onions and garlic
- Sautee onions until soft, then add in the garlic – make sure there is enough liquid so nothing burns, we had to add in some of the tomato juice from the whole tomatoes after a bit
- Stir in cumin (at least 4T) and chili powder to taste (at least 2T)
- Add tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with your hands (but careful not to let them squirt all over your shirt, like I did, grrrrr)
- Add meat back in, pour in the beer, and shake in a healthy dose of Cholula
- Stir together and cook on low for at least one hour, tasting along the way and finding your balance of cumin, chili powder, Cholula, salt & pepper
- Garnish with avocado, sliced radishes, grated cheese and sour cream
We served with cornbread and a simple arugula and shaved pecorino salad with an olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper dressing. Deeeeeeelicious. That was pretty much the perfect weekend in my book, full of friends, food, wine and laughing!
I miss my houseguests already, but at least I get to go home to some really good leftovers. And stay tuned for my first guest blogger – Jen will be stepping in for a post or two while I’m on vacation in Mexico next week!