Writing a post on chili is always challenging.
There is no turing back. Often by the time I am ready to sit down to the task, the pot of the said stew has long been emptied and left out to dry. I can't go back and re-sample the chili for a quick refresh of the taste.
There is no cross reference with anyone around me. I have yet heard of someone who eats chili here, much less about someone who knows who to cook a pot of it. Maybe some eatery do serve chili, but I doubt many try or take them seriously.
Except for someone.
And, strangely, that someone is my brother. He is definitely not a big foodie as I am, but he knows how to enjoy his food.
So it happened that there was once he popped into my place to have dinner and I gave him a bowl of chili. He eyed it skeptically and then upon recognising what it was, smiled happily.
He didn't explain why he was smiling when he tucked into the bowl of beef chili. He didn't have to. It took me a while and then I had this flashback of him coming home from school carrying a paper box gingerly. When he opened it up, it was a chili dog from A&W. He loved the chili topping. It was the only reason why he could suffer the hotdog.
My previous batches of chili have always been made with canned kidney beans, which appear in most recipes. Of all the beans that I picked up from FoodXervices, I didn't think to pick up kidney beans as it is quite easily available in supermarkets. So when I wanted to cook chili, I had none to add in. I am such a planner, isn't it?
Luckily for me, listed as a variation to the Classic Beef Chili was the Beef Chili with Bacon and Pinto Beans in The Best Slow and Easy Recipes. I offered up a quick prayer. And I thought that I am not a religious person. Perhaps cooking does that to a person.
Now I have a three-quarters of a kilo bag of pinto beans to cook.
The recipe for Cook's Illustrated Basic Beef Chili can be found here at Taste Book, I swapped the 2 cans of kidney beans for 1-1/4 cups dried pinto beans which have been picked over and soaked.