Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A change in the weather inspired this week's recipe choice: chili. After several weeks of unseasonably warm weather, we finally got another taste of winter. A giant pot of hot chili seemed like a good idea for warming ourselves up. Nothing beats a big bowl of comfort food and some homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread.

The best way to have complete confidence and control over your sodium intake is to make as much as you can from scratch. This chili recipe includes instructions for making your own chili powder. It isn't difficult at all, and tastes so much punchier and fresher than industrial mixes. You also have the advantage of making it to your taste. You will need to start with whole dried chile peppers, which can be found in the ethnic food section of a well-stocked grocery store.

PDM's Chili Powder

3 dried Ancho chiles
3 dried California chiles
3 dried Guajillo chiles
1 T garlic powder
2 T whole cumin seed

Cut up the chiles into small strips using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Toast the ingredients in a dry saute pan briefly until fragrant. Remove and grind into a find powder.

Chili (serves 8-10)

2 medium onions, chopped and divided
5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 lb sirloin
1 lb chuck roast
~40 oz diced no salt added tomatoes, pulsed in food processor to remove chunks
2 14-oz can(s) organic mixed bean, rinsed and drained
8 T chili powder (recipe above)
1/2 oz "secret ingredient" (some of you can guess what this is - it complements chile peppers)

"Grind" the beef by cutting into 1" chunks and then pulsing in food processor 5-6 quick bursts. Brown ground beef in small batches over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Set aside to drain when done. After all meat is browned, cook the jalapenos and all but 1/2 cup of onion over medium high heat until softened. Add tomatoes, meat, beans, chili powder, and secret ingredient and cook covered over low heat for about an hour, until the meat and beans are cooked through. Near the end of cooking, add the remaining 1/2 cup onion.

Serve with cornbread. Each serving contains less than 200 mg sodium (not including cornbread).

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