Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

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Steak Tartare

Last week was Bryan’s birthday! On his birthday, I shared with you a list of some of his favourite items that I have shared on this blog. Because we’ve both been incredibly busy, our first opportunity to celebrate his birthday was Saturday evening.

To save on money (and a secondary motive of getting some interesting blog content), we decided to stay in to celebrate Bryan’s birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I spent more than usual on this dinner. It’s not every day you celebrate a birthday!

This week, I’ll be sharing three recipes with you. These recipes are how we celebrated Bryan’s birthday on a “less than we would have paid having a a fancy dinner out at a restaurant” price. All of the dishes were requested by Bryan, but I was given free creativity for preparation and presentation (although “no parsley” was another of the requests).

Hope you will enjoy reading about them (we sure enjoyed consuming them)!

Steak Tartare

Adapted from Chow’s Classic Steak Tartare

Ingredients

  • 350 grams high-quality fresh sirloin (buy this from a trusted butcher) – approximate cost $7.00
  • 1 fresh egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 3 teaspoons capers – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 baguette – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Slice the beef into very small (about 1/2 cm or smaller) pieces.
  2. Combine the beef slices, egg, sriracha, dijon mustard, worchestershire sauce, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Move mixture to a serving bowl.
  5. Serve with slices of baguette and a side of capers.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.69 per serving) or 2 large servings (approximate cost: $5.36 per serving).

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Rabbit Braised in White Wine

My parents tell me that rabbit was one of my favourite foods as a child. Yet, I don’t remember eating it, ever (nor do I remember seeing it for sale at the grocery store). I have trouble believing I was so adventuresome with my food choices at the time.

So, when rabbit was available at work, I quickly text messaged Bryan, asking him if we should give it a try. It was a bit more expensive than what we would usually buy for dinner, so I wanted to consult with him about whether I was being a bit too spontaneous with my food purchases.

I hummed and hawed over the purchase. Bryan was more than willing to give it a try. He was more confident than I was about my ability to turn it into something edible for dinner.

Was I going to like it? Would it be too much over our usual budget? Have I progressed enough as a cook to take on something like this? It still kind of looked like a rabbit… could I bring myself to cook it?

At the end of the day… it was still there, so I wrapped it up and decided to buy it. Worst case scenario I botch it and we order pizza instead.

Well, I cooked it, ate it, and enjoyed it very much. Bryan seemed to enjoy it a lot as well. We had leftovers for a few days and I found it was best reheated in the oven as opposed to the microwave.

Have you ever been nervous about cooking dinner? If so, what is it that you were nervous about cooking? What made you nervous?

Rabbit Braised in White Wine

Adapted from Rabbit with White Wine from Canadian Living

Ingredients

  • 1 rabbit, cut into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $15.00
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon butter – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 carrots, sliced – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 package (about 500 grams) crimini mushrooms – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 cup white wine (I used Silver Point Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand) – approximate cost $1.75
  • 1 cup chicken broth – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (I used fresh rosemary from my garden, but 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves would work as well) – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.
  2. Add rabbit pieces (in batches).
  3. Shake the flour mixture to coat the rabbit pieces.
  4. Repeat until all pieces are coated in flour.
  5. In large pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.
  6. Brown rabbit pieces (in small batches).
  7. Transfer browned rabbit pieces to a large baking dish.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Reduce heat to medium.
  10. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the pot.
  11. Add onion pieces, carrots, and a few tablespoons of the remaining flour mixture.
  12. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion pieces soften.
  13. Add crimini mushrooms and garlic.
  14. Cook for about 1 minute (garlic will become fragrant).
  15. Add white wine and chicken stock.
  16. Bring to a boil (mixture should begin to thicken).
  17. Remove from heat and pour over rabbit pieces.
  18. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, and lemon juice.
  19. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (or until the rabbit pieces are cooked through).
  20. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving with a piece of baguette as a side (and a glass of leftover wine).

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.93 per serving).

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