Easy Chili – Fast Food My Way Redux- Jacques Pepin

roses-chili-bowl-4When I wrote ‘Fast Food My Way’ in 2004, I hoped that my friends would prepare my recipes. Now, more people cook from that book than any other I’ve written in the past 30 years.
Jacques Pepin

Batches of chili are at the top of the menu plan today, some for tonight and some for the freezer for weeks to come, the first batch is an older keeper recipe from years ago from Julee Rosso and Shiela Lukins, another chili recipe to post on a better day as it is a lengthy one as it is enough for a big crowd of at least 35 and it is time to make cornbread, after all, we don’t want to anger our soon to be dinner guest, Dorian…a nice hot bowl of chili with appropriate acondimenti

Brown the meat toss in the remainder of the ingredients, yes even dried beans or you can use the quick soak method for the beans while you prep all of the chili ingredients…no the garnishes do not go into the pot, well maybe a little cilantro.

Fresh garnishes for chili, shredded lettuce, sliced jalapeños, choice of cheeses, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and diced red onion…

4 Servings or easily doubled
The basic ingredients from Jacques, slightly adapted

3/4 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or coarsely ground beef
8 ounces dried red kidney beans
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
3/4 cup coarsely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in sauce
1–2 serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Hearty chicken or beef stock as much as 3 cups

Jacques’ way with garnishes…8 large iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
2 cups grated Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups very finely sliced red onion, rinsed and drained
About 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Put all the ingredients except the garnishes in a to a 6-quart pressure cooker or follow Instant Pot cooking instructions.  Bring to a rolling boil, uncovered, over high heat. Mix well, secure the lid on the cooker, and cook over high heat until the gauge indicates that the pressure inside is on high. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 50 minutes. Decompress the cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Open the lid, stir the chili, and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Remove the bay leaves.

Suggested by Jacques…To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves to resemble cups on four plates and ladle the chili into the leaves. Sprinkle on some cheese, red onion, and cilantro. Serve and enjoy.

Note: In a pinch or as a matter of routine look around for the prepackaged chili seasoning kits to make life a little easier…two of my favorites over the centuries, Shot Gun Willie’s and 2-Alarm Chili, both very good and along with the addition of fresh garlic, etc.