January 6, 2012

A "Chili' Day in the Village!

Lawd, Ya'll! It's 9 degrees in
The Village this morning! 

I so wish I could brave the cold wind and take a brisk walk through the neighborhood, but I simply cannot bear to have that cold wind on my face. I think I am just a southern girl that prefers warm weather and flip-flops, as opposed to single digits and face hoodies! Mainers never let cold weather dampen their outdoor activities...they feel like anything below thirty-two degrees is "sweatah weatha!" I do find it so incredibly beautiful when a light snow begins to blanket the harbor, however.

Photo credit to Robert Donofrio...... winter day in Perkin's Cove Ogunquit

Darling called at lunch and asked what Estelle's was serving for dinner tonight? "All I had for lunch is a salad, so I would love to have something hearty and hot....some man-food!" We have just the perfect menu for a mid-week, winter evening. I think this should satisfy that "man-o-mine!"

2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 pounds ground beef
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup masa (corn flour, found in Mexican food section of many supermarkets)
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes and chilies
Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green or yellow onion and Sour Cream

Begin by measuring the spices: chopped garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook the beef until brown, then drain off the excess fat. Pour in the tomato sauce. Followed by the spices and the salt. Stir together well, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add in ½ cup water at a time as needed.After an hour, place the masa in a small bowl. Add ½ cup water and stir together with a fork.Dump the masa mixture into the chili.
Stir together well. Do a taste test, adjust the seasonings, and add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans, jalapeño, and tomatoes if desired. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and a big ole' dollop of Sour Cream!

Estelle's uses Bob's Red Mill masa harina. It is a finely ground corn flour. It's texture is smooth, not gritty, and it's aroma is pleasantly sweet. When baked into cakes or flat breads, the flavor is full of sweet corn. I find this at most groceries.

1/4 cup butter
 2 tablespoons shortening
 1/2 cup masa harina
5 tablespoons cold water ( may add more to reach consistency of cookie dough)
 10 ounces frozen corn kernels
 3 tablespoons cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whip butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add Masa harina slowly and mix thoroughly. Add water until cookie dough consistency and mix. Blend in corn kernels.
Mix cornmeal, sugar, whipping cream, baking powder, and salt separately in a large bowl. Add masa harina mixture and mix until blended. Grease an 8x10 square pan and pour mixture into pan. Cover pan with foil and bake. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 until it is consistency of custard. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting into squares for serving.

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