What's For Dinner Wednesday: Olga's Chili

In a recent post that included things I love about winter I mentioned my mom's chili.  The recipe card that she typed out neatly says "Olga's Chili" at the top.  Olga King was my mother's friend and wife to my Dad's boss when we lived in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, many moons ago.  Though I hardly remember her, I do remember her chili - the chili that is the standard against which all others are measured (and her lasagna recipe remains the best I've ever had).  

I'm thinking there's an inverse correlation between the cleanliness of recipe card and how good the recipe is.   

When I was an inexperienced cook, it always surprised me that there was cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in it.  Now that I'm older and wiser, it makes sense and I'm going to add some cocoa powder next time.  Not today thought, today I'm trying some Chorizo flavoured beef.  I'm thinking one change at a time.  OK, two - I decided to put it in the slow cooker this morning, even though Olga's is a stove top recipe.  I want to be hit by that spicy, savory fragrance this afternoon when I return from walking the dogs.

Olga's Chili

Slice 3 onions and cook in 3 Tbsp fat or shortening (I used 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil) and cook over medium heat until tender but not brown.  Remove and set aside. Saute 1 lb. of ground beef and brown evenly.  Into a medium sized saucepan pour 1 15 oz can of tomatoes, 1 6oz can of tomato paste, add meat and onions.  Blend 2 Tbsp of chili powder, 1tsp dry mustard 1 tsp minced garlic (I crushed 2 cloves of garlic in a press) 2 tsp salt, 1tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves, 2 small bay leaves with 1/4 cup of cold water.    Add to the meat mixture and stir until all ingredients are well mixed.  (I should note that I didn't add the chili powder today because of the chorizo flavoured beef.)

Cover tightly and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cans of kidney beans (one drained, one undrained) and simmer 15 minutes longer.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

P.S.  YUM!  

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