The NFC and AFC championship games are today. For those of you who could care less about football, these games determine who will be playing in the Superbowl in a few weeks. This is a bigger deal than usual 'round these parts, because we're in Vikings country. Big-time. I think that 90% of the Facebook posts I read today were "Skol, Vikings!" ("Skol" being the Scandinavian salute, as opposed to Skoal, the chewing tobacco.)
Everyone is wearing their purple and gold. Even the snowman across the street. (Seriously.)
I grew up rooting for the Vikes. The hubby is a Bears fan first, and a Vikes fan second. So we're definitely cheering for our ... well, not hometown team, but the closest team we've got. Although we're pretty low-key about it. I don't even own a Vikings shirt.
I DO own a Vikings helmet, complete with blonde braids, but I have no idea where it went. The last time I saw it, the cat was wearing it. (Again, seriously.)
In any case, it's a day for good football food. Like chili. The hubby and I have several favorite chili recipes, but I have yet to try traditional chili con carne -- chili with meat, but no beans, tomatoes, or onions. It's just slow-cooked meat simmered with spices and water, and then thickened with masa harina. This recipe is from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker: Recipes for Entertaining by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, except that I halved it, as I often do when trying a new recipe that can feed a crowd. (No use making 10 servings of something you don't like, right?)
The chili was quite spicy -- much more so than I'm used to. But very good. I think it would be even better rolled up in a tortilla with some cheese (which is how the hubby plans to eat his).
Slow-Cooked Chili con Carne
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. boneless beef round steak, trimmed and cut in 1/4" cubes, or chili-grind beef (I used sirloin tip, cut in cubes)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper or 2 Tbsp. New Mexican red chile powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce
6 c. water or more, to cover (might depend on the size of your slow cooker)
Salt, to taste
3 Tbsp. masa harina
Recommended accompaniments: Crumbled saltines, shredded cheese, diced onion, diced jalapenos
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef until no longer pink (about 6-8 minutes).
2. Drain fat off beef and add to slow cooker.
3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano, hot pepper sauce, and enough water to cover the mixture by 1 inch. Stir to combine.
4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. During the last hour, season with salt. Mix the masa harina with enough cold water to make a paste. Stir it in, cover, and cook until chili is thick.