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 - 2006-02-08: Recipe of the Day

Ralph's (my uncle) Chili Bricks EST. 1930 Recipe
Ralph's (my uncle) Chili Bricks EST. 1930

10 pounds of "regular" ground beef
8 large onions chopped fine
12 large cloves of garlic minced
1 cooking spoon paprika (see note below on “cooking spoon” size)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 cooking spoons chili powder
1 cooking spoon ground cumin

Cook meat garlic and onions until done use no water, will form quite a lot of juice, but do not ladle off. When this is done add paprika, chili powder and cumin. Stir well and often while cooking about 15 minutes longer over very low heat. If desired add 2 number 1 cans of
tomato puree and stir often as this mixture burns very easily. When done pour into lined loaf pans and freeze.

Add a can of red beans, pinto beans or kidney beans to each block when you fix to eat. You can also cook your own beans to add and that is my preference.

This is delicious chili! I like to add a can of those Mexican stewed tomatoes when I add the beans or can of beans. I posted this recipe on the internet for a cooking group I belong to and they had a lot of questions, so I thought I would go ahead and answer them now. Maybe some of these suggestions may also help.

What is a cooking spoon?
A cooking spoon is a utility spoon, I use a stainless steel chefs spoon.
How many onions do you use?
I put the onions into my pot of beans when I cook them. I put one large onion in when I start the beans. Later I add another large onion to the beans when I add the brick to the beans. I do this because the first onion is good at flavoring the beans while they are cooking, but they cook up and are a bit mushy when the beans get done, so when I add another one it increases the flavor and you can see them better in the recipe. I use chicken broth when I cook the beans as well (more protein that way). I never use water in any of my soups. I also always use home cooked beans in my chili, but you can use canned beans. If you use canned beans you would want to sauté the onions then add the beans and chili brick to that. I would just add two large onions then. Over all use as many onions as you want!
If you like garlic you can add more of that that if you want at the time you cook the beans and brick. I like Spice Islands chili powder. I have found some chili powders to have cinnamon and that to me ruins the chili taste for me. You may need to add more salt as I am not a big salt fan and if I want more salt, I just add it at the table.
Why don’t you just go ahead and add the beans and other stuff?
Again, think as if this recipe is a soup base...with meat sauce already in it. It saves a lot of time in the kitchen. Try this some time....add about 5 finely chopped stalks of celery in with the beans. It is a delicious addition to the chili.

What do you line the pans with and why?
When I say lined pans it is what ever you want to use. Aluminum foil or saran wrap. It is only to help you get the brick out of the pan easier.

How much does this recipe make?
I would say just keep pouring the mixture into pans or containers until the pot is empty as the recipe size may vary just have a few loaf pans ready or a pan that is near the equivalent to a loaf pan to freeze the mixture in. If I need another container, I just go find something that will hold the mixture and that I can leave it in there to freeze it. I have even used half gallon milk cartons, but added the mixture to these after it cooled so the wax would not melt into the mixture. All I do then is peel off the carton and I am ready to go with the brick.

Why wouldn’t I just put the beans in the mix, would freezing the beans be a problem?
The brick is made without the beans in order to save room in the freezer and to speed up the process of making chili. The result of having a good chili brick to add is a good chili and not just one that would have tasted better if you took more time to make it right! And I find that it unthaws faster without the beans as well. As stated before it is a chili base and you can modify it as you like. It is really not anything this complicated. It is not like baking where everything has to be precise.

If you find it hard to find beef with more fat either ask the butcher for about 1.5 – 2 pounds of suet, or add some olive oil. It is not rocket science we are performing here it is "just fat" no matter what form it is in. In the end I ladle off or crack off the fat after it is chilled. Cracking off the fat is an easier way to remove fat. To do this, just pour the mixture into the loaf pans and frigate. When the mixture cools the fat will float to the top and harden. At that time just crack and peel it off and discard it. You then nave nearly fat free chili, but not without the flavor! The fat is just left in there during the cooking process for the flavor the beef fat imparts. Lean meats lack a lot of flavor and I simply do not like them unless they are cooked in a lot of liquid. I always go for the option to have fat on my meats and just remove the fat later.
Now we can buy hamburger ground real lean or with regular amounts of fat. You can use leaner if you want, but to get the flavor I suggest you prepare the bricks according to this recipe and ladle off any fat you do not want when you unfreeze and have added the beans and what ever else you want to add to the chili. A good way to do this if you have time is to let it set and chill in the refrigerator and then just pull off and discard the hardened fat that has floated to the top during this process.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as I have nearly every fall and winter. I love going to the freezer for a chili brick that I know will taste wonderful and not some commercial stuff that I have no idea how the food is handled or what some of the ingredients are.

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