Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goup! Okay .... chili mac!

My great-grandmother Biggie used to make a dish whenever we came to visit called "goup".  Basically, it was chili with macaroni in it, and my husband insists that's called chili-mac.  Well, Biggie made hers in a large cast iron skillet, but I have eight people eating tonight, so mine is simmering in a large cast iron pot.

This is one of those nights that one - I don't feel like cooking, and two - everyone is busy with activities and is eating in shifts.  It's a good night for a one pot dish that I can just leave for hours in the Aga .... a crock pot also works, but, be sure it doesn't have lead.  Many of the older versions have lead.

This is what I did.  I should tell you I go to the grocery every day that I'm cooking (last night's pizzas doesn't count as cooking!).  I bought 3 pounds of grass-fed ground beef, two 28 oz cans of Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, 4 cans of Westbrae chili beans, and a box of Quinoa macaroni elbows, which brings up a point ..... most of my meals are gluten-free.  I don't have to eat gluten-free, but I am not a big believer that it's great for you, so I avoid it much of the time, or I eat sprouted grains like the Ezekiel tortillas I made pizza with last night.

I browned the ground beef in the cast iron pot the chili is simmering in.  I poured off the grease/water.  I meant to saute an onion with the ground beef, but oops!  So, I added the chopped onion and about 2 dozen chopped baby carrots to the pot.  Then I added the tomatoes and beans .... stirred.  I brought it to a simmer, then moved it to an oven that is 250 degrees ... it can simmer on the stove or can be put into a crock pot if you make it early enough (good luck with that, LOL, I never can manage to be that organized, though I try!).

I cheat when I chop!  I have a Pampered Chef food chopper and it makes it soooo easy!!!  I used it for the onions and carrots.

As I sit here, I realize that I didn't season it, so I'll get up when I'm finished telling you about dinner and go do that.  I don't really measure.  I know what herbs and spices I like and I know what they taste like and how much to use.  When you use an herb, I would suggest first taking it easy and maybe making dishes with one herb so you can learn what it tastes like .... like, sprinkle it over a chicken breast.  Also, smell your herbs to remind you of what they taste like.  Over time, you'll know how much to use and which ones, so you can read my recipes and say, "Yuck, I'll leave that herb out!"  :)

I will go back to the kitchen and add some salt, chopped garlic, chili powder (lots!), and chipotle powder (I love it and almost always put it in chili, it has a nice smoky flavor).  I use Simply Organic brand chili powder and it has other herbs in it, like garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, etc., so I don't really need much more than that!  I'm generally heavy handed with herbs and spices because I love them!!!  I would recommend putting in how much you think you want, then let it simmer for a few minutes, then add more.  Once I made the chili so hot because I used a pre-packaged mix from a trade show my husband had gone to that none of us could eat it!!  I just dumped the whole package in!!  Yikes!!  You can't take the spices out once they're in!  (This time I probably put in 1 tbsp per pound of beef, and an additional half tbsp of chipotle chili powder per pound .... but that's a guesstimate).

A little while before I am ready to serve the chili, I will boil the pasta and add it.  Simple!

Off I go to add herbs ..... thanks for stopping by!!

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