Monday, March 15, 2010

Chili -- Breakfast of Champions!

Long ago when I was attending the Eastman School of Music -- or the Eastman Pool of Mucus, as my brother called it -- there was a little dive diner next door that had chili that was really hot and wonderful.  In upstate New York, it was a great thing to have in the morning if you happened to have some time to consume breakfast.  So I often had this chili that would make my eyes water and truly warmed me up in every respect.  Ever since then, I've come to accept that chili makes a fine breakfast.

But sometimes these little nuggets of realization you glean from life experiences get misplaced like treasured sweaters that go missing.  And then when you stumble on them again, you are overwhelmed with nostalgia and you swear allegiance again to the long lost item.  I have such a sweater!  Truly I do.  I bought it probably nearly 25 years ago, maybe more!  It has a massive neck that you fold over and over and it drapes nicely and it has bat-wing sleeves!  And it is a vibrant maroon color.  I love that thing.

I also love chili for breakfast!  I have been eating quite a lot of chili since I adore it so much and I bought a huge pork shoulder, probably 12-15 pounds.  I brought it home, cut it into large chunks and put what I suspect are 2-2.5 pounds in ziplock bags and stuck them in my freezer.

I'm going to share the recipe I use, I got it from the low carb forum.  However, as is my way, I often make it from memory and forget some of the spices or simply make it easier by leaving some out.  Lately I use 1/4 cup chili powder, a generous amount of cinnamon, cumin, allspice, either cayenne pepper or pepper flakes, and 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder.  If the cocoa sounds odd, let me reassure you it doesn't make your chili taste like chocolate, it gives it a deep, rich flavor that is sensational.  I might use dehydrated onion if I'm not fresh onion enabled.  Oh yes, add the vinegar, I forgot that this last time.  I like the sharpness.  I use 1 can of tomato sauce and one can of diced tomatoes.  I don't bother with the beef broth.

Then I cook it all in my lovely enamelled cast-iron pot for a very long time over low heat until the pork is nice and soft.

The last time I made this I cooked the pork cubes sous vide for 12 hours or so at 145, then finished in the pot.  It cut some cooking time off, if you don't count the sous vide time!

Tastes great but it's always better the next day.

Oh nearly forgot my optional things.  Optionally, you could add some soy beans (look for them in the bean section in your health food store), if you really like beans in the chili. They add very, very few carbs. Or you could use a can of kidney or black beans.  They're not strictly low carb or paleo but one can divided over about 10 servings is a pretty small addition.  And I always like getting a bean or two, they seem like such a treat.


Anna said...

I add cocoa to my chili, too. It really adds depth to the flavor.

Anna said...

I add cocoa to my chili, too. It really adds depth to the flavor.