Monday, February 25, 2013

3 Great Recipes: Chili, Chicken, and Beer Bread

Winter is winding down here in south Texas and spring is around the corner.  Our bluebonnets are going to be amazing thanks to much needed rain this winter.  The front yard is blanketed in bluebonnet plants that will be covered in flowers in another month.

Bumper crop for sure.  They make a solid carpet covering the entire front yard and much of the back fence line.  A few flowers have popped up in areas as well.

Believing that this weekend might be one of the last chilly ones we would have this year, we invited a neighbor to dinner Friday and broke out my favorite chili recipe.  I love the way the whole house smells of cumin, garlic, and chili powder while it is cooking.  And the brick color is irresistible.

My Favorite Chili
2 lbs. stew meat
1 lb sausage
2-28 ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1-6 ounce can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 tsp beef bouillon
3/4 cup beer (Shiner Black, yum)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sugar
2-15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed.

In a large stock pot, cook meat over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain off grease, and add tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Give a good stir to softened the paste.  Add the chopped vegetables, bouillon, beer, seasonings and sugar.  Simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally   You won't be able to resist the urge to lift that lid and stir, I promise.  If using large chunks of stew meat(I like smaller ones), add a little more time for them to get fall-apart-tender.  Add the drained and rinsed beans, stir and leave uncovered, and simmer for 30 more minutes.  It's got good flavor already, but pass the Tabasco and sliced jalapenos for the die hards.  Great with cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, copped raw onions, and Fritos.

While it was cooking we took in another terrific Texas sunset on the porch.

And a Not-Sangria beverage.  Beer is better with chili.

On Saturday, Breck and I were treated to another great meal cooked by my mother.  She found a recipe for Chicken Bryan and served it over egg noodles.  Outstanding, and going on my What's Cooking Recipes.

And what's dinner without a good photo bomb from the sister-in-law.

The sunset the night before was stunning and the moon after this meal was just as lovely.

And tonight, to finish off a productive weekend, we will finish the left over chili with a loaf of quick beer cheese bread.  So easy to make, and so good.

Beer Cheese Bread
3 cups self-rising flour (or make your own by sifting 3 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 tsp salt, and 3 3/4 tsp baking powder)
1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend (cheddar or Montery Jack is fine)
1 tbs sugar (1 tsp if using a beer on the sweet side)
4 sliced green onions (sun dried tomatoes or jalapenos would be good too)
1 tbs dried red/green peppers (other spices can be used)
1 bottle beer (I used Dos XX)
1 tsp coarse salt

Toss flour and sugar with cheese, breaking up any clumps.  Add the onions and dried red/green peppers.

Pour in the beer; it's going to bubble like crazy.

Get it all stirred together until all the flour is moist.  Scrape into a lightly greased pie pan or 8 x 8 pan, cover with plastic wrap or tea towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes or more.  It was laundry day here, so I put mine on the warm dryer.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to see if that is enough time for your oven.  It may take you longer.  Cool on a rack covered with a tea towel.  This will help develop a softer crust.

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