I always feel so traumatized about the weather here. When I first moved to Star Valley, a whole four years ago, it was novel and enjoyable to me, this visible changing of the seasons. It was a sunny June when I got here, which moved quickly into colorful leaves and crisp, cool Fall weather, then WHAM. Smacked right in the face by my first long, cold, extremely snowy winter. It’s been an abusive relationship between me and the weather since then. The weather is notorious for being completely schizophrenic here. We had a few days of hitting 90 this summer, and mid August it started to turn south by dipping into the 20s for a few days. Things froze. Green bean plants were viciously murdered by the frost. I vowed a bloody revenge upon the wintering that is fast approaching and far sooner than it should be. Yesterday the weather reports said “a strong possibility of snow in Western Wyoming.” I mentally threw myself to the floor, kicking and screaming and pitching a whiny baby fit of epic proportions. For the record it has not snowed yet. But it was still 35 degrees outside this morning, heavy ice needed scraped from my car windshield and while I drove into work, I spied the telltale signs of fires going in fireplaces and woodstoves – the curl of smoke trickling out of chimneys, wandering its way forlornly into the grey, muddled skies. The only good (and I use that term very loosely) thing about the chilliness of Fall/Winter, is that I can and will use food as comfort against the immense gray-and-whiteness of everything, and as a source of warmth. It makes me feel nice to dish up a hot bowl of something substantial and spicy and for dinner I tried to make amends with my non-traditional Texas chili making ways by way of a recipe for slow cooker Texas-style chili found in Food Network Magazine. Set alongside cornbread muffins with cheddar cheese and scallions mixed in, I almost didn’t miss my usual addition of beans to my chili ::devilish grin:: I know, I know, sacrilege. Oh well. I make no apologies for deliciousness in any form I choose to take it.
Slow Cooker Texas Style Chili
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine
beef, cubed (I used tri tip, enough for enough chili for two, and leftovers for my lunch)
1/2 Tablespoon or so brown sugar
couple Tablespoons oil
1/2 a yellow or white onion, diced
a few garlic cloves, minced
a can of hatch green chilis
1/2 Tablespoon or so cumin
a bunch of chili powder (I didn’t measure, just shook it into the pot)
2-3 small tomatoes, chopped
sliced scallions, cilantro, sour cream, grated cheddar or monterey jack
cornbread muffins (I used Jiffy. Listen, I’ve tried the from scratch cornbread muffins and was underwhelmed each time. Jiffy was good enough for my mama, it’s good enough for me)
Heat the oil in a large pot. In a bowl, toss your beef with brown sugar and salt. Add to the hot oil in batches and brown the beef on all sides. Transfer to the crock pot. If you need to add a little more oil to the pot, do so. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, and chili powder to the oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the onions are translucent. Stir in green chilies, tomatoes, and water. Add salt and pepper to taste and let this whole thing simmer for a few more minutes. Transfer this over to the crock pot with the beef. Cover, set it on low, and let it cook for about 7 hours. Serve with chopped scallions, a little cheese, and even some sour cream if you like, along with the cornbread muffins (or tortilla chips if you want). Feel a little bit better about the cold weather.
and here’s a bit of a brag. this is why I put up with the “ew nasty” face: