Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recipe #46, 47, 48: Beans, Bread, and Chili

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Recipe: Beans
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Time: 2 hours
Ease: 1
Taste: 4
Leftover Value: 2
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Down the Drain!

Beans aren't my favorite.  I certainly wish they were because I know they are incredibly good for you.

Even more so, I wish these beans had been as delicious as she set them up to be, because they are so simple to make.  Even Hubby, a bean lover, said that these beans were just okay.  The wait time for them to cook for the flavor acquired made it seem insane not to just crack open a can of beans instead.

I did not appropriately judge the size pot needed and about half way through cooking I had to switch over to a different one. 

That made me grunt and groan.

I had hoped that the pieces of bacon cooked with the beans would make the flavor amazing, but the lack of other ingredients tipped me off that I wouldn't be too impressed.  Other than the beans and bacon, we have salt and pepper added at the end.

These beans are bare bones basics, folks.  And it shows.
 
Recipe: Cornbread
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Time: 35 minutes
Ease: 3
Taste: 2
Leftover Value: 1
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Down the Drain!

Flavorless cornbread makes me sad.

This is only because I have tasted and made cornbread full of flavor and moisture that is so perfect I almost forget about my bowl of chili that sits beside it.

Almost.

I had high hopes for this cornbread, especially since I didn't have any hopes for the beans.  I expected the beans to be lousy.  I reasoned that the cornbread would make up for this.

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Even though it looks great, this cornbread was bland and boring.  The texture was great, but the flavor was lacking--greatly.
 
Recipe: Simple, Perfect Chili
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Time: 1 hr 20 min
Ease: 2
Taste: 8
Leftover Value: 7
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Keep it in the Strainer!

I've made this chili before and it is probably my favorite chili recipe because, in the book at least, she does not demand beans in it.  The linked recipe is from the Food Network, and is a little different than in the book.  In the book, she lists different things that can be mixed in with the chili, but doesn't require it.

Chili that does not require beans is simply perfect chili to me.   

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If I'm being completely honest, I don't totally hate beans in chili.  I only hate the super huge kidney beans that are often used in chili.  They bother me just a little.

I find that before the hour of time that the chili simmers, it becomes pretty dry and needs some water added to it.  This isn't always the case, but it is often the case.

A little corn flour mixed with water is the secret to the texture of this chili.  It is added a few minutes before the chili is  done to thicken it up a little. 
 
Instead of beans, I take PW's suggestion to add diced tomatoes with green chiles.  These are sometimes difficult to find in the grocery store.  Make sure you go to the international aisle and not the regular canned tomato section.

Here is why I especially love this chili.  While you can certainly cozy up with a bowlful of it and a hunk of (good) cornbread, you can also eat it with fritos, scatter it on top of french fries, of use it to make the best nachos ever.
 
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