Tag Archives: Chili

Nowinsky Chili

20 Sep

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Chili is a staple of fall. I don’t care who you are or what you think about that, in my world, it just IS. And when my husband and I were musing about fall foods a few weeks ago, both of us had the “lightbulb” moment of…”let’s make CHILI!”.

Now, having a solid chili recipe in your arsenal is essential. It’s something that could vary a little bit every time you make it, but in theory, you still have the same overall chili outline.

I did not have a chili recipe that I could fall on without looking up something to get me started.

My mother in law has one. A GOOD one. One that the entire Nowinsky family knows and loves. One she tweaks every time she makes it, sometimes with steak and sometimes with ground beef. She had never even written it down until we probed her for the basic outline so that we could give it a try.

This is foolproof, guys. It really is. You put in meat, spices, beans, veggies and liquid…you let it slow cook for several hours…and it becomes chili. That’s the basic premise. And you get to use Bloody Mary mix. (A newfound favorite drink. De-lish!)

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It will also fill your entire kitchen with a chili aroma. That’s a bonus because let me tell you, the way it tastes will warm your insides and make you ooze happiness.

Ok, ok, that’s dramatic. But it WILL be good. And you WILL want to make it again.

We are diving in the chili-making process with a cannonball…here…we….

….GO!

Ingredients:

  •  3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz tomato juice
  • 16 oz Hair of the Dawg (or any other Bloody Mary mix)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 6 (or so) dashes of hot sauce

How to Make:

First, it’s time to brown the meat. And not just the meat, we browned it with 1 Tbsp of each of the dried basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.

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Yum.

While that’s browning, chop up your white onions and celery stalks.

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When the meat is mostly browned (my own technical term), add in your onions and celery and low that cook on low for about 15 minutes.

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Now, this makes a large batch of chili. So for us, we divided it amongst our largest stockpot and crockpot. But if you have a BIG stockpot, this will all fit nicely. If not, I do think splitting amongst two big stockpots or between your stockpot and crockpot, will work too. It did for us!

Now, take your meat/onion/celery mixture and pour into your stockpot/crockpot. Now, we get to add everything else!

Add in the tomato juice (not pictured in step format, but I promise it went in) and the Bloody mix, which adds a nice amount of spice (we like Hair of the Dawg…it’s sooooo tasty)…

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…and then the canned diced and peeled tomatoes…

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…and the chili and black beans…

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…add in 1 Tbsp of garlic powder….

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…and the remaining 1 Tbsp of basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.

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Give everything a BIG stir and then, for a final touch of ‘zing’, add in some dashes of hot sauce (not pictured, but is an essential final step). We did about 6 dashes, but you can do more or less depending on your affinity for the condiment.

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Now, if you’re doing this as an all-day crockpot item, I recommend doing this is on low for 6-8 hours. The longer and lower heat, the better!

If you’re like us, and wanting to eat this for dinner and you’re making it early afternoon, you can easily do this in your crockpot on high for 4 hours.

Now, for the stockpot option, leave that on medium-low for a short cooking time of 4 hours, or on low for a long 6-8 hour batch.

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The good news is that this is flexible and you can tweak it depending on the time you have and the cooking method you plan to use!

When you’re ready, this is great to serve with a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese and a big slab of cornbread. We really enjoyed dipping and eating our Beer Bacon Cornbread with this chili and it was perfect.

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So if you too are ready for fall foods, you want something to warm your insides and make your kitchen smell like heaven, you need to make yourself a big batch of Nowinsky chili.

You WON’T be disappointed!!

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Beer Bacon Cornbread

16 Sep

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There is a large place in my heart for cornbread. In fact, it graces my Top 10 favorite foods (which I like to think is a hard category to crack) and I have a hard time finding a cornbread that I don’t want to eat. Do you feel me, people!?

What is it about cornbread that is SO good?! I personally believe it’s the savory and dense flavor, the cake-like texture and the fact that it’s an excellent dipping mechanism for soups (chili in particular).

As I’ve alluded to in some recent posts, Luke and I were craving a homemade chili and cornbread weekend to kick-start the fall season. I have had this cornbread recipe from How Sweet Eats as a Pinterest pin for a LONG time and was simply waiting for the right moment to try it out. This seemed like the ideal time to give it a go, especially as I’ve been really pumped about Jessica’s new cookbook and am anxiously waiting to dive into it’s colorful and drool-inducing pages.

(I have a slight cookbook obsession…umm…can’t help it.)

Before I dive into the details, can I just say two OTHER items that I really love – bacon and beer. And these are to be IN the cornbread?!

Heck yes, people! They are!

Jessica over at How Sweet Eats knows how to really spice up cornbread with all the perfect ingredients. My husband thought I was kidding as I asked if he wanted to try out Beer Bacon Cornbread. HA. Not kidding, just about to create the most epic cornbread ever.

No. Big. Deal.

Enough already, let’s do this!

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick-cut peppered bacon (just adds some extra zip to use peppered), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat (leftover from your bacon fryin’)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup cake flour + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or you can use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, which I did not have on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of beer (we used a light beer but you could experiment!)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 sour cream
  • 1/2 unsalted butter, melted down

How to Make:

Prepare for a delicious loaf of cornbread to come out of your oven, people. To make that a reality, preheat to 375 degrees and find your favorite loaf pan.

Now, my parents are firm believers in flouring pans for all breads and cakes and I must say, I swear by it too. To do this, spray the pan with Pam or another cooking spray and then drop a handful of flour into the pan. Working over your sink or garbage can, carefully turn the pan and pat the sides to spread the flour across all sides and the bottom of the pan. (The sound of my mom tapping the side of the pan as she floured it is a distinct sound that brings back memories. My mom made banana bread all the time. Seriously – ALL the time.)

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Before we dive into making the batter, gotta fry up that bacon! Use a skillet on the stove top and make sure to fry it up so it’s got a little crunch (at minimum). When the bacon is done, remove and set on a paper towel to absorb the grease and then leave the pan to cool as you’ll need a bit of the bacon fat later. Yes, we’re using bacon fat. You will love it. No complaints!

Once the bacon is cooled, chop it up into bite-size pieces.

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Now time to get the batter going. In your medium bowl or stand mixer, mix together the dry ingredients of cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.

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Once that’s all mixed together, you’ll grab a smaller second bowl to mix the milk (pictured below) and eggs (not pictured because I’m a moron) together, and then add into your dry ingredients. Add in the sour cream and the beer of choice (not pictured, but it did happen. Solemnly swear.).

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Last liquid to add is the melted butter and that bacon fat.

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Mix the batter until it’s all smooth and just before you finish, add in your chopped up bacon pieces. BEST PART. (Yes, you can sneak a piece or two. Who will know?!)

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Pour your batter into your floured pan…

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…and then pop the pan into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Use a toothpick or another wooden skewer to test the doneness (it should come out clean when inserted into the cornbread if it’s done).

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This had a BEAUTIFUL crust on it when it came out. Both Luke and I were ooohing and aaahing over how fantastic it looked and let me tell you, tastes even better!

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We ate ours with a big batch of our Nowinsky chili (coming to a future blog post near you) and it was perfect with something to dunk it with. It’s also really good with a little sweet butter spread on it. It has a tangy flavor and the sweetness of butter really compliments the tang of the bacon and beer mixed into the cornbread.

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Gosh, I don’t know how many other words to use to get you to want to try this, guys. It’s SO tasty!

It stays really great for a few days, but definitely do recommend you devour it quickly. We found that after 4-5 days, the bitterness of the beer came out. But hey, it makes the fresh baked bread REALLY good, so it’s totally worth it. Just make sure to feed it to lots of hungry folks and I have no concern that you will gobble this up right away.

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Happy cornbread making, friends!

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