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Chile a la BargainCountertenor

Toby gave us great basic directions for chili. If you happen to like a particular two-alarm boxed spice mix, well here it is.

6 T ground red chile powder (NOT McCormick’s stuff or any other spice mix)
2 T paprika
2 t ground cumin
2 t oregano (Mexican, not greek)
Salt to taste (2 t kosher salt supplied)
Cayenne to taste (package provides 1/2 t. Be very careful.)

1 1/2 T dehydrated onion
1/2 t garlic powder

1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground meat
1 large can diced tomatoes.
1 can tomato sauce
For the best results grind the hamburger from reasonably lean stewing beef. If your grocers are like ours, they are charging near steak prices for stewing beef. In that case buy whatever is cheap, trim it and grind it in your stand mixer, meat grinder or food processor. Remember that the idea is coarse if you use a food processor.

Brown the meat in a dutch oven, add the chile powder paprika, cumin, oregano and no more than 1 t salt. Mix well with the ground meat. Add the tomato sauce, one can of water and the canned tomatoes. Stir, then add the dehydrated onions and garlic powder. Allow to simmer about 30 minutes, then add the pintos (feel free to sub kidney beans, black beans, etc.)

Serve with grated sharp cheddar, cornbread and sweet slaw.

About the beans. If you are on a budget, cook your own beans. You can cook your own beans for a small fraction of the cost of canned beans. Your beans will also be lower in salt. You do have to sort them to remove the junk. After sorting and rinsing, cover them with water and leave them on the counter overnight. Drain the water they soaked in before cooking. This will reduce (not eliminate, reduce) the level of glucosaccharides that cause the Blazing Saddles effect. After draining, cover with fresh cold water, then bring to a simmer. It takes about 90 minutes at a simmer to cook beans here. Don’t overcook them or they’ll turn to bean mush. Don’t undercook them, or they’ll be tough. My slow cooker won’t cook beans — it doesn’t get hot enough and they’re tough and gritty.

You can stretch the chili about as far as you’d like with beans. When I was in gradual school, I’d use 3 pounds of dried beans per pound of meat (and be eating it for two weeks. Having a freezer helps.)

As Toby says, the point is to eat cheap, healthy and good. You can mod this recipe with additions to taste (bell peppers, green chili, etc). If you’re feeling wealthy, cut the stewing meat into small chunks rather than grinding. It takes more meat to do it this way.

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I'm a professor of statistics at New Mexico State University with some expertise in government statistics and work experience in state and federal government. My professional expertise is in experimental design and analysis, with a sideline in survey design and analysis.

My hobby is music making with large lengths of brass tubing.