Well, FYI, the hubs and I can both pretty much rock it in the kitchen. He prefers the elbowroom of cooking by himself. I rather enjoy the process of cooking together, or at least having company in the kitchen while I’m doing so. True, I maybe interject my “thoughts” from time to time, which he doesn’t always welcome. In the chili department, however, it’s hands-off for me. I’ll occasionally venture into white chicken chili territory, but as a former firefighter (and paramedic and police officer, and don’t forget Eagle Scout—basically freaking Captain America) and highly-sought-after-back-in-the-day firehouse cook, traditional Firehouse Chili is all him, all day long.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Scott’s Firehouse Chili was a consistent favorite when we had our restaurant in downtown Benton Harbor from 1999 to 2002, The Main Street Café. We served it mild (as written here), medium, Hot Damn, or Somebody Call 911. It remains beloved among friends and family when he makes it today, and it promises to be a big winner for your Super Bowl or other gathering.
If you happen to be the sort with venison in your freezer, chili is a super #MOREin2014 way to rotate VARIETY into your diet using a cleaner, leaner meat*. If you’re not the sort, my apologies, but we’re from Michigan, and we are. Or my husband is. And thank goodness, because the meat he was able to put in our freezer has been a welcome and necessary addition this long, frigid, underemployed winter**.
I believe one of the major issues our nation faces in terms of wellness is lack of variety in our diets. Eating the same few things (which generally include wheat three or more times a day, or rice if you're gluten free) day in and day out, week after week, is extremely stressful and/or over stimulating to the immune system. So think outside the (processed) box by cooking at home, and outside the chicken, pork, turkey, or beef quadrangle. Those who choose to eat meat might seek cleaner sources from local farmers who sell shares or sides of the livestock they raise. Ask questions and be mindful of how they feed, accommodate, and treat their livestock, to make sure their standards align well with your own.
Bottom line, chili is a hearty, healthy, delicious, flexible and naturally gluten free meal that can satisfy anyone, and this recipe is among the best out there, because my hubby is among the best out there, in my humble opinion. I think I’ll keep him.
Follow my GANEPossible.com board on Pinterest for many #MOREin2014 ideas. If gluten-free is a particular concern for your family, then you might like my Gluten-Free Moms board. And do subscribe (right over there --->) to receive my upcoming Quick Minute to GANE Empowered Wellness Newsletter in your inbox!
Scott R. Gane’s
“Famous” Firehouse Chili
2.5 lbs. of Ground Beef or Venison (or steak, chopped into cubes)
1 Sweet Onion
1 Yellow Onion
1 Green Pepper
1 Jalapeño pepper (deveined and seeded, finely diced)
8 oz of sliced mushrooms
32 oz of Black Beans
32 oz of Dark Red Kidney Beans
32 oz of Tomato sauce
32 oz of Diced tomato
6 oz of tomato paste
Chili powder (to taste, start with a couple Tablespoons)
Chipotle pepper (to taste, start with half a teaspoon)
Sea Salt (start with a teaspoon and taste, you'll adjust as you go)
Garlic (2 cloves – smashed and finely chopped or minced)
Wash and dice all the vegetables and combine with all the beans and tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in a large stock pot. Season with chili powder, pepper, salt, garlic, and black pepper.
In a separate pan, brown the beef/venison, etc. seasoned as above (at approximately half the amounts listed) for the vegetables. You’ll taste and adjust along the way. Once browned (you may want to drain off some of the fat), combine in the pot and bring to a slow boil.
Add the mushrooms, continue to cook, and re-season to taste – add some of the chipotle pepper here too.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for up to 2 hours. Turn off – better refrigerated overnight and eaten the second day if you can wait that long.
Serve hot with fresh raw onion, cilantro, cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
And you won’t be sorry for making a batch of my Gluten Free Cornbread to go with!
Copyright 2014 (c) Scott R. Gane, All Rights Reserved
LOVE my ladies over at Midlife Boulevard and READ some of the other great Super Bowl Party Posts!!
*If you’re not a hunter or don’t know anyone who is, venison can be purchased at better butchers and supermarkets (although it would be farm-raised and thus not as clean as wild and not considered sustainable unless the farm in question uses sustainable practices). Bison, lamb, goat, turkey, chicken, or beef, ground or in bite-size chunks, would all work, too. If you prefer a vegetarian chili, HVP-type (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is not considered safe for those that require gluten-free, and let’s face it, is fake) chunks or crumbles or tofu would work equally well. This is heavy on the beans, so you could opt to serve it over brown rice, which would complete the chain of amino acids necessary to provide a complete protein without any meat or meat substitute.
**I am proud of my state’s dual concern for conservancy and the wellness of our land, where maintaining the proper balance in the deer population is an ever-changing annual effort and concern.
Require Gluten Free? Use Caution with these ingredients: cheaper store brands or blends of canned beans may contain wheat starch (we like to use organic when we’re able, and BPA free). Read the label. Packaged, pre-shredded cheese may contain a separating agent. Check with the manufacturer to make sure it meets your family’s needs or shred your own from a block using a box grater.