Wish Upon A Dish: Extreme Budget, Day Eleven - Three Bean Chile con Carne

November 28, 2012

Extreme Budget, Day Eleven - Three Bean Chile con Carne

Now that the holiday weekend is over, I can get back to normal routines. It was nice after all the stress of the storm to have a quiet, uncomplicated Thanksgiving and the three days after.
It's also nice when everyone at the table is over 25. If they don't want Aunt Jackie's Mashed Potatoes they can make their own. We also don't have the many concerns that other families do. No gluten intolerance, no dietary concerns (even with two diabetics at the table) and no fuss budget's.
I tucked all my goodies into the freezer for later in the week and got down to the business of making my extreme budget shopping list.

First thing I did after cleaning out the fridge was buy a large rectagular food container to store my odds and ends in and found 4 carrots, a half an onion, a cup of butternut squash, a half pound of bacon and a gallon of milk. In my freezer was 1/2 pound of meatloaf mix, 3 boneless chicken breasts, a bag of frozen brussels sprouts and corn.
I already knew that that 1/2 pound of meatloaf mix would be used for a chili, I just needed to refine the type. I am a little behind in my consumption of beans and I have more cans then I can count so I decided on a three bean chili. Always trying to do double duty (DDD) when I cook, I am making a homemade chile sauce so that I will have a container tucked away for a Chicken Enchilada dish later (plus, it's so much better using whole chiles instead of ground spices).

I find that the recipe Rick Bayless uses has a great amount amount of flavor and the perfect amount of heat that we prefer.

 Ancho (or Guajillo) Chili Sauce
(makes about 3 cups)

* 8 medium (2 ounces total) dried Ancho chiles (your choice depending on your heat level), stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
* 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half horizontally
* 4 cloves of garlic, skins on
* 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted like Muir), drained
* 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* Salt

1. Toast the chile pieces in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 19 seconds per side. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in hot tap water to cover; place a small place on the top to keep the chiles submerged. Be careful not to breathe in the fumes. I have problems with frying in cast iron so I use the outdoor grill or skip this process completely. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a food processor or blender.
Add the garlic cloves and the onions, skin side up and toast them for 15 minutes, until blackened.
In the blender measure in 1 cup of soaking water, the tomatoes, toasted chopped onions and peeled garlic cloves and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.

2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium (4-5 quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12-inch) deep skillet over medium-high heat—you’ll need a lid for whichever vessel you choose. When hot, add the chile puree and stir until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt, usually about 1 scant teaspoon. You should have about a generous 4 cups of brothy sauce.

Reserve 1/2 cup chili sauce and freeze the rest in 1 cup containers.

For my bean lineup, I chose black beans, white beans, red beans and for a little surprise (no, not a bean) a can of hominy. I thought it would add a nice texture and flavor to the chili. Hominy's soft corn-like texture makes it a frequent ingredient in stews and soups, and it's also served on its own as a warm breakfast dish. For people with diabetes, these tasty kernels may be a welcome addition. Since hominy won't cause extreme blood sugar spikes the way some foods do, it's a safe choice in moderation for diabetics.

I totally loved the addition of the hominy. I should experiment more. I doesn't have a corn taste but offers a unique chew that is pleasant and satisfying. 

Three Bean Hominy Chili con Carne
makes 3 cups
* 1/2 pound chopped meat mixture
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup red or green peppers, chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 bottle dark style beer
* 1/2 cup chili sauce
* 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
* dash worchestershire sauce
* 1/3 can each 3 beans (choice), rinsed and drained
* 1/3 cup hominy
* salt & pepper to taste

1. Saute meat in heavy stockpot until browned. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf and peppers. Saute until softened and bottom of pan starts to brown. Deglaze with bottle of beer.
2. Add chili sauce, oregano, worchestershire and salt & pepper to taste.
3. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Adjust seasonings.

Cost for this meal: $3.93
Meat Mix - $1.60
Onion - $ .55
Garlic - $ .60
Chicken Broth  - $1.18

Running total after 11 days: $32.45

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