Friday, October 29, 2010

Fireman's Chili

Ok so this is my second post today, which is more than I usually post in a week. I'm finally getting caught up!

Halloween is officially two days away now, and guess who still has no costume and no plans... I promise I'm not a Halloween Scrooge. I actually love Halloween, but I don't normally have the time or effort to put into executing the holiday successfully. So far I have bought candy for trick or treaters (which I may or may not have succumbed to opening last night), and Mr. G and I bought pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch that we carved last night. It was my first time actually carving a pumpkin (my dad always did it in the past), and to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle. Thankfully, Mr. G is much more skilled than I at the art of pumpkin carving, so he helped me out a bit (ok, a lot). Here are our masterpieces:

Mr. and Mrs. G in pumpkin form

In honor of the cool autumn weather, I decided that it was also the perfect time to make chili. I have never made chili before, so I thought it would be fun to try. I wanted to find a recipe that looked yummy without being too complicated, so I ended up selecting the Fireman's Chili recipe from my Notably Nashville cookbook that I received as a wedding present. All of the recipes in the book are submissions from local Nashvillians, so it would also serve as a nice reminder of home. :)

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I just bought minced garlic to use)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I substituted ground turkey since Mr. G loves it and I forgot we bought beef... oops)
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained (I skipped these because Mr. G hates beans)
  • Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions (skipped), and fresh cilantro
  • Saute the onions in the heated olive oil in a large saucepan for 8 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef (or turkey!) and cook for 4 minutes or until brown, stirring until crumbly.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the beef mixture and the saucepan.
  • Return the ground beef mixture to the saucepan and stir in the tomatoes, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat (this is when I transferred everything to the crock pot, but you don't have to use a crock pot).
  • Simmer for 2 hours or until the chili is thickened and the flavors blend (I was too antsy to let it sit that long, so we ate it after an hour and it was still good!)
  • Stir in the beans (if desired) and adjust the seasonings. Cook until heated through. 
  • Ladle into soup bowl and garnish.
  • Enjoy!
As you may imagine, this was my most challenging cooking attempt to date. I had never used a crock pot before, nor had I ever cooked with so many ingredients. I burned myself three times, and once it even caused me to fling chili all over the kitchen. Beyond that, everything went fairly smoothly... It was a long process, but it was definitely worth the wait (and the burns). The chili was absolutely delicious! I was very proud, and Mr. G was very impressed. I will definitely make this dish again, though hopefully with fewer injuries... 

Here are some photos:

Sautéing the onions

Cooking the ground turkey, onions, and garlic


Finished product! Yum!

If you have any good, cheap Halloween costume ideas, please comment and let me know! This is getting to be an emergency...

Also, I'm looking for suggestions on how to improve the flavor of baked chicken. Mr. G and I cook chicken a lot, but it's always a little blah... even with breadcrumbs and spices. Hit me up if you have any tips!


Happy cooking and Happy Halloween!

- Mrs. G


  1. My mom always stuck the chicken to soak in a sauce for several hours before she cooked it. Worcestershire, I think. Some salad dressings might work too--basic idea is to just infuse chicken with flavor before you cook it. Only takes a few minutes to set up, then you can let it soak all day in the fridge while you are at work.


  2. Good idea! We've done marinades before, but I like the idea of Worcestershire... That sounds good.

  3. I like to marinate chicken breasts (cut into 1" strips) in an Italian dressing and an Italian spice blend (you can buy Italian seasoning already mixed in the spice section) with sliced bell peppers for several hours in the fridge then heat a skillet and cook the strips and peppers in it. It only takes about 5 minutes to cut the chicken and peppers to marinate and only about 15 min to cook. It is great with a parmesean risotto (find it in a box near the rice at the grocery store) as a side.

    You can also put aluminum foil over the chicken you all are typically baking to help keep it from drying out so much in the oven.

    I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures up north!