Simple, Perfect Chili

Pioneer Woman ChiliI read cookbooks like other people read romance novels — cover to cover, absorbing every delicious measurement and instruction as if it were the feud between Edward and Jacob (sorry, I had to throw in the Twilight reference).

As soon as I received my copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (thank you, Mr. UPS guy), it was no different.  As soon as my son was in bed, I settled down on the couch with a cup of tea to read my new book.  Bliss.

As I was reading through P-Dub’s (cute, huh?!) recipes, artfully intertwined with great stories of her transition from big-city girl to a pioneer woman who works a ranch, I came across her recipe for Simple, Perfect Chili.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  I just found my recipe for the cookbook review!

Is It a Keeper?

This recipe was pretty good!  As you can see, I did a bit of tweaking (sorry, it’s my nature).  I just couldn’t bring myself to only use 2 cloves of garlic.  I think it’s against my religion or something.  It also didn’t feel right to not add onions right from the start.  And, since I like my chili to be saucy (pronounce: saw-say), I added some extra tomato sauce.  Maybe it’s because I’m saw-say?!?

I also couldn’t find masa in the grocery stores where I live.  I guess there’s not much demand for such a product in northeastern PA.  So I did a little research and found that corn meal could be substituted in equal quantities.  I have to admit, I found this step of the recipe a bit odd (remember, I’m from the north).  But, I really do think it added a nice dimension to the recipe.

The finished product was pretty good.  My family liked it (even my 5 year old), but we agreed that we needed to kick up the heat a bit.  Now, that could be (probably is) my fault.  I was very cautious with the various peppers.  I was burned once before (that pun was totally intended) in my Chili Test that I did.  I nearly burned my lips off!  So I took it easy this time.   Better safe than sorry.

I really liked the texture of this chili.  I think the corn meal actually gave it some heft and made it really hearty and filling.  Overall, I’m going to give this recipe a big thumbs up!  Definitely a keeper!



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