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kitchenMost soups are for cold weather.  The warm of the soup warms you up from the inside, putting a smile on your face and quiets the howling wind just a bit.

Soup and winter go hand-in-hand.  Soup and summer, though, do not mix.  When you are hot all over, adding heat to the inside of your body just isn’t intelligent.  It just doesn’t work.

Unless it’s chili.  For some reason, chili is good all year round.  Maybe it’s the spices, maybe it’s the beans and meat, maybe its the fact that you could easily make it from scratch over a fire, but chili just works all year round.

We are huge fans of the Dubuque Farmer’s Market and try to go every Saturday.  At least once a summer I get most of the ingredients to make chili from the market (including ghost peppers because Nora and I are insane), start it when I get home, eat it for supper, and then have at least two more chili-themed meals that weekend.  Chili soup again, chili dogs, chili on baked potatoes, chili mac are all valid options.  We also freeze at least a couple of quarts of it for further eating.

I got it stuck in my head that I wanted chili and that I would get everything from the Farmer’s Market, forgetting that there isn’t really any peppers yet.  Not the brightest bulb in the pack sometimes.

It was stuck in my head, which also meant it was stuck in Nora’s head, and even though we couldn’t get what we needed at the Market, we did go to the grocery story and get what we needed for some deliciousness.

Chili 1We start with tomato juice.  I think this picture may also have some spices (chili powder and cumin) in it, but just so you can see how much it grew.

Chili 2Jalapenos.  For heat and flavor.

Chili 3Onions.  For flavor.  Also, bell peppers, but I was dealing with burger as Nora was cutting the bell peppers so I didn’t get a picture.

Chili 4Burger.  That’s about half of what ended up in the chili, and it was fantastic.

Chili 5At this point, you need to look in your fridge and figure out what beer you have and what gets sacrificed for the chili.  Hopefully you won’t have the decide which “$3 a bottle” beer gets sacrificed.  Should have bought beer at the grocery store…

Chili 6Get everything in and just let it good.  It tasted good here…

Chili 7And amazing here.  Chili definitely benefits from sitting.  I’ve had chili we pulled out of the freezer that tastes quite a bit better than the chili that was put in the freezer.  It gets better with time.

Chili 8A bowl of chili.

Chili 9Jiffy Mix cornbread muffins.  The perfect addition to chili.

And to all the southerns who are freaking out because a, chili doesn’t have meat or beans in it, and two, because I used Jiffy Mix, make me real stuff and I’ll eat it but this is delicious and tradition does not trump flavor.  Period.

Chili 10Chili dogs Sunday for lunch.  We then had chili over baked potatoes for supper.  And when I get done writing this up, I’m going to have chili for lunch.

Chili 11Frozen chili.  We had two bowls the same size in the fridge before the chili dogs and chili potatoes.  I like this meal because I don’t get tired of it, it goes a LOOOOONG way, and we can freeze it.

Chili con carne y frijoles

1 Can Tomato Juice
4 Jalopanos, sliced (can be replaced with Bell Peppers),
1 Onion, diced.
2 Bell Peppers, diced
3 Pounds Hamburger
2 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons Cumin (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Beer (full flavor, not-skunky)

Brown hamburger. Combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat for many hours. Eat and enjoy.

I have to thank my mom for this.  My chili recipe is an adaptation of her chili recipe – basically adapted to have some spice to it.  So to mom, who made the crazy amount of delicious chili I now have possible!

– Robby