Monday, September 7, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Chunky Dutch Oven Chili

Image copyright Zichrini

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I like my Dutch oven much better than my slow cooker for meat-based dishes. I don't have to get out an extra pan to sear the meat. I can sear the meat in the Dutch oven and then transfer it to the stove. For best results, I recommend a cast-iron Dutch oven, not an enamel-coated one. The enamel chips over time. Plain cast iron lasts a lifetime with proper care.

Right now, this pre-seasoned Dutch oven by Lodge is only $49.95 from Amazon. 
The list price is $64, giving you a savings of $14.02. Prices on Amazon are subject to change.

My Dutch oven is an Amazon Basics, but they no longer carry that one. The lid doubles as a skillet on this model, which is really cool. I like my cast iron skillet from Lodge. They make good, solid products.

The way I make this savory chunky chili is extremely complicated, and only a master chef will be able to authenticate the exacting and precise steps detailed in this post.

Just fooling. I am nowhere close to being a master chef. This chunky chili is awesome, and anyone can make it. If you don't have one of the ingredients or don't want one of the ingredients, substitute something else.

The first thing I do is pour a little canola oil into the bottom of the Dutch oven and let that warm up over medium heat. A gallon of Happy Belly canola oil is $6.28 from Amazon, which is a reasonable price.

Once the oil is hot, I add the stew meat. Mine was still partially frozen. It doesn't matter. You're just searing the outside. It will be warmed through by the time the stew is done. If you don't have stew meat, brown some ground beef or chicken. If you don't want meat, leave it out and add an extra can of beans.

While the meat sears, I cut up some onion and threw it in the pot. I sprinkled the lot with Kinder's The Blend seasoning. You can use whatever seasoning you like. I rely on The Blend, which I get at Costco. It's simple and savory. You can pick up two 10.5 ounce bottles for $18.36 from Amazon. This isn't a bad price, but if you have a Costco membership, get it there instead.

While the meat and onion are browning a bit, heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add your other ingredients. 

One can of Ro-Tel. This is another item that is much cheaper at Costco, but $11.76 for a twelve-pack is comparable to what you'd pay in the grocery store.

One can of black beans, undrained. This is another item that's cheaper from Costco, but $14.99 for 12 cans isn't bad.

At this point, I stirred in a packet of Watkins chili seasoning. You can use taco seasoning and you can use other brands, but I think that once you've tried Watkins, you won't settle for anything else. You can buy Watkins seasonings from my page, or you can sign up to be a consultant yourself and get discounts on your own products. There are no sales quotas to meet with Watkins, and no representative will ever contact you unless you ask them to.

I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, which added a nice, savory flavor and some thickness. 10 cans of soup for $14.28 isn't bad.

I added a can of southwest style corn and peppers. You can get a 12-pack of 15-ounce cans for $24.21, which is comparable to what you'd pay in the store. If you don't have southwest style corn, regular corn is fine.

It took me longer to write this post than it did to add those ingredients to the Dutch oven. I turned off the heat and moved the Dutch oven to the 200-degree oven for 8 hours.

I had made my super-secret ingredient, leftover Spanish-style rice, in the instant pot the night before. You can get an Instant Pot from Amazon for $79.

With a slow cooker, you use less liquid than normal. With the Instant Pot, it's the opposite. You will need what might sound like an abnormally large amount of liquid. Trust me, the measurements are accurate. 

I also recommend spraying the inside of the Instant Pot with cooking spray, even if you are using oil or butter as well. I like Watkins cooking spray, but whatever you have will work. This four-pack of canola oil cooking spray for $7.99 is a bargain.

After spraying the inside of the Instant Pot with cooking spray, I add 1/4 cup of butter, 2 cups of rice, 2.5 (that's two point five) cups of water, and a can of Ro-Tel. If I were not using the Ro-Tel, I would add 2 3/4 cups of water or a combination of water and stock.

Then just put the lid on the Instant Pot and hit the Rice button. The pot will take care of the rest. I like to make the rice the night before to allow time for the flavor of the Ro-Tel to really blend in.

After the chili has finished cooking, stir in the leftover (or freshly made) rice and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes covered on the stovetop to let the rice warm through. Serve with a salad or tortillas if you'd like.

This is a simple and delicious meal that comes together quickly and cooks slowly while you do other things. It's inexpensive, versatile, and I think it's better than restaurant quality. 

Bon Appetit!

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

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  1. I really like that the lid doubles as a skillet.
    Those are precisely the sort of dishes I make for the carnivore in the house. What goes into them depends on what is to hand, but I am told that they are excellent - and that the leftovers are good too.

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