It’s Chili Season
My Dad Doug’s Chili Recipe
Big Batch – Make it on a Saturday and feed off of it all weekend like a family of lions working a water buffalo in the Serengeti.
Seasons are a beautiful thing and we certainly get a full four-color slide shot living in Colorado. It’s a toss up between spring and fall for me as to which one is the best. Spring holds the anticipation of summer and all things lake, water and family. Fall gleaning hard into winter with the anticipation of yet another epic Colorado ski season. Spring brings new greens, berries and wet woods ingredients – mushrooms, fiddleheads, ramps and asparagus. Fall yields the fruits of a long growing season – finally ripe apples, lingering corn, squashes, roots and late season greens – that somehow have more flavor than any other time of the year. Something about the bounty of autumn and the body settling in might make it the best time of all. Cooking all day in spring and summer ends with energy on the beach, in the backyard with friends or in the parking lot at Red Rocks. That same day in fall and winter more than likely ends in front of the fireplace, bundled up before a football game, or sinking into the couch and yelling at the TV.
The grill gets less use and the braising pots go into full action. The fresh, hot, bright and spicy of spring melds into the low and slow, all-day approach with lots of creamy, cheesy, gut-filling additions of fall. A pot of chili always tastes better when it’s snowing. A brisket is always more enjoyable with orange leaves falling. There’s a different satisfaction to a big meal after a long day of work in the cold months. Maybe it’s cause it gets dark earlier. Maybe it’s cause we aren’t wearing shorts 24/7. But an extra helping when it’s chilly outside always seems to make a lot more sense.
There is an amazing end result not available from lighter cooking styles that comes from something started at 9 in the morning and laid out on the dinner table 7 hours later. “Cooking like an American Indian” has always been a mantra in our restaurant kitchens. No extra steps, no under utilized pieces and parts, no wasting of cooking fuels or mediums. American Indians cooked what they grew, caught and killed and made the very most of every bit of it. Low and slow with lots of depth – yielding rich and hearty dishes that can only come from time and love on the fire.
Make plans to come into the restaurants this fall and see what we’ve had cooking on the stove all day…and have a freshly canned Top Rope to wash it down. And I encourage you to pull out the crock pot, the braising pots and think towards stews and long cooking broths and the low and slow mind set.
Yipppeee FALL! (burp)