Chili hater's chili and snacks for the big Game

When your team doesn't make it to the big game, the most important thing becomes the food. Let's be honest, even if your team is in the game - it's still about the food. 

I enjoy the game and especially the commercials (even though they are not as amazing as they once were.)  In the past, I would work hard all day to make a huge spread of food - wings and piles of food that would have me running back and forth to the kitchen during the whole game. This year, I am making something that folks can serve themselves - buffet style - which makes it possible for me to catch all the must-see commercials.

Come Sunday, I'm going the chili route for the first time in nearly 20 years. My current (and who I like to refer to as my last husband) hates chili. He has a dislike for many foods - seafood, certain vegetables, all fruits, onions, sour cream, cheesecake - I could go on.

After some prodding, I discovered that the kidney beans were the culprit.  Well, he also doesn't like seeing chunks of the onions and garlic, so I always run those through the food processer for recipes because I'd rather eat sawdust than something made without onions or garlic. Also, tomato chunks, peppers of any kind and heavy spice - those are all on Jimmy's no-fly list. I had my work cut out for me. 

I gave this some thought and developed a chili that even he loves. He asked that I name it after him -  "Jimmy V's Chill-e" - don't ask about the name origin, it's a crazy story. A big pot of chili, bowls of toppings including G.H. Cretors' popcorn (the ranch and cheddar go great with the chili) and a few easy make-in-advance appetizers, and you are ready for game time. The only problem with the popcorn is that it disappears quickly so buy plenty. It's great for pre-game nibbling, as a topping for the chili and the caramel version is a sweet treat perfect for dessert. Sunday I'll be mixing up the caramel corn with pecans and a drizzle of chocolate. 

Jimmy V's Chill-e
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1 1/4 pounds of ground chuck
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans (drained)
1 15 oz. can of black beans (drained)
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter* be aware of allergies 
1 package of Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit (only the spice package)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of beef broth
pinch of red pepper flakes

Toppings: shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, jalapeño slices, avocado or guacamole, corn chips, G.H. Cretors cheddar and ranch popcorn, diced red onion, sour cream, hot sauce. 

In a large dutch oven (5.5 quart) brown the ground chuck until done and deeply caramelized. (I learned that from Anne Burrell with her bolognese recipe.

Using a spoon, carefully tilt the pot to one side and remove the excess fat drippings with a large spoon. 

Make a well in the middle of the pot and add the diced bacon; cook until crispy.

Again, make a well in the meat mixture and add your onions and garlic, cook for two minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir together.

Make one last well. Add your chili spice package (or chili spices of your choice) and allow them toast for a moment. 

At this point, I added one cup of water to the mixture so that it doesn't burn while I gather the additional ingredients. (You can easily use a cup of beer here instead).

Next, add the two cans of tomato sauce (you can replace this with two cans of chopped tomatoes (Jimmy V doesn't do chopped tomatoes). Stir together. 

Rinse and drain the can of pinto and black beans and add to chili. Stir. 

Add the juice of one lime and the 1/4 cup of peanut butter, this adds a depth of flavor that we love and reminds me of elementary school lunches when we had bowls of chili and a peanut butter sandwich. 

Taste to adjust seasonings. Lower temperature to low, cover and let simmer for about an hour. Check for consistency of the chili. If it has cooked down too much add another 1/2 cup of water or 1/2 cup of beef broth (or more if necessary). I used beef broth to add more flavor. Add the pinch of red pepper flakes.

*If you would like to use peppers or more spice (cayenne, hot sauce), please add them. I prefer to leave those heat elements in the toppings so that everyone can enjoy a bowl of chili, heat lovers or not. I know it is strange to add peanut butter to your chili - but before Jim - that is how I made my chili and everyone always loved it. Be sure to let folks know you have added peanut butter due to nut allergies, another option would be to leave it out and have a bowl as a condiment - yes, I did put more peanut butter in my serving because I love it. 

Head over to Olla-Podrida's blog to see her take on using Cretors popcorn with her Smoky Popcorn Chowder

Special thanks to G. H. Cretors for providing me with a big game package to make this menu. I hope you try it.

Go team! 

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