Friday, July 17, 2009
Home-Style Chili - Freezer Meal
I love this picture - makes me think of hard life on the trail, eating whatever foods you brought or could hunt up. Foods like chili and other simple one-pot meals topped the menu. This picture is found in the chili section of the book "Where's Dad Now That I Need Him?" The book is a lot more than recipes, but there is a sizable recipe section, including an entire chapter on chili.
This is the first recipe in that chili chapter, and it's super good! Simmering for a really long time, it starts very watery but over the hours it thickens and the flavors blend so deliciously. This is a chili that just gets better the longer it sits! That's also what makes it a great freezer meal.
For this recipe, since it already makes so much, I didn't have to double it or anything. Just made it as-is, and it made enough for 3 freezer meals for my family, plus enough for dinner tonight.
3 cups dry kidney beans plus soaking water
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped celery (I skipped this, as I used up all my celery for the curry)
1 tsp. pepper
4 tsp. chili powder
6 cups water
1 #2 1/2 can tomatoes, pureed in blender (about 2 14-oz. cans)
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. celery salt
I also added about a cup of squash puree from my freezer, a couple sliced carrots, a seeded jalapeno, and a can of olives, sliced. I like lots of stuff in my chili! I also used TVP in place of some of the ground beef.
Wash beans; cover with water and soak overnight. In a skillet, cook meat and onions until meat is browned and onions are tender. Add to beans in a heavy kettle. Stir in remaining ingredients except celery. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary to keep chili from scorching. Add celery and simmer 30 minutes more.
This could probably be done in a slow cooker - just toss everything in once you've browned the meat and onion, and cook for several hours.
Mmm, look at that big ole' pot of thick, chunky chili! Yum!
Freezer Meal: Same as with the curry - once chili is finished cooking, let cool and separate into meal-sized portions, into freezer containers, ziploc-style freezer bags, or canning jars. Freeze. To use, thaw completely in refrigerator, and heat in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through. Again, if you use freezer bags, freeze it flat to make best use of freezer space, and to allow for faster thawing.
I did the curry in gallon-sized bags, and the chili in quart-sized. With a fairly small family like mine, either size works fine.