I’d done almost no serious cooking for the 2019 Cookery Project since the start of the year, so once I made it home from Charleston, I was eager to get back into my own kitchen and get to work.
I love chili, but I’ve never been able to put together the right combination of meat, spices, liquids, garnishes, and other ingredients needed to create The Ultimate Chili Bowl. A few months ago, I was whining about that failing to my sister-in-law Terri—I do a lot of whining to relatives about various failings, a few of them even my own—and she promised to send me a recipe that she and my brother Vince use. Which she did.
The Verdict: This chili was good, as well as fast and easy to put together. I think the secret ingredient was the jar of mild salsa verde, something I’d never used before, which gave the chili a nice kick.
I’ve already used the recipe a second time, doubling the main ingredients and upping the spices by 50%, so that I could freeze most of this second batch in 1-, 2-, and 4-serving containers. There’s no such thing as having too much chili within easy reach.
But the quest continues. It may be that my search for the ultimate chili recipe is doomed to inevitable failure, like my endless attempt to find a place that serves fish and chips as good as the ones I used to get, a long time ago, at a little shop in San Francisco. But I’ll press on, like Joel Cairo and Kasper Gutman, despite the odds.
After all, ultimate chili is the stuff that dreams are made of.
★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.