It’s Cold; We Need Chili!

maryland chili

Maryland Tex/Mex Chili

A Marylander shouldn’t make Texas chili in Texas – and I never did; but I can make it in Maryland. Actually I had to, because Doug and I were in a bit of withdrawal for that special kick chili is to the palate on a cold day. I could have checked a recipe – but that would have been out of character, and I already was in the grocery store when the craving overcame me.

So, after ten years of being able to buy delicious carryout chili, I resolved to make it, trying to remember what was in the little flavoring packets in Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm chili.

The result wasn’t bad . . . but it needed a flavor I remembered loving in Texas chili but did not discern in this Maryland mixture. That’s a recurring, unsettling part of aging – something I can’t describe but know is missing haunts me like a proverbial ghost!

Anyway, here’s what I did. It’s deficiency, which didn’t bother Doug, might have been the ingredients I did not have – or it might have been the ones I added. (That’s also true of how I got to me at this late age and stage!)

I Hope I Remember How to Make This Chili

Sauté and set aside

2 onions – chopped fine
4-6 cloves of minced garlic

Sear and set aside

2 pounds ground round
2 pounds finely chopped chuck

Combine the above with

Large can of whole tomatoes – but skipped tomato sauce and a bit of tomato paste. That may be what I missed tasting.

Add ~ mas o menos with a heavy hand

¼ cup ground chili
2 teaspoons cumin
Dash of red pepper flakes
Fresh cilantro –

Wick Fowler I think added oregano and paprika – I didn’t have any. Could that be a flavor changer?

Brace yourself: A couple of teaspoons of brown sugar and a handful of frozen corn – no beans – Doug says, no beans. Maybe that was a flavor changer?

Salt and pepper – heavy hand

Simmer for a couple of hours then add
Corn meal at the end for thickening and flavor (I couldn’t find Masa harina)

Serve with sour cream and cheese — chips, crackers or cornbread.

Note: the concoction improved overnight . . . refrigerated, of course and then reheated. Cooling it thoroughly meant I could skim off some of the fat that 80% beef generates.

I wonder what Old Bay would have contributed? (Just kidding.)

Here’s a link to a two-alarm recipe that might be interesting . . . especially if we have winter as cold as I remember it.


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