With Labor Day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking of ways to feed a group of people without being in the kitchen all day. One of my favorite recipes for crowd control is chili. And since it’s still summer time, chili buns is this weeks go-to. It’s really one of those set-it-and-forget-it types of food. And actually, you can totally make this a day ahead of time and just put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Or, make it in a slow cooker the day of. Today, I’ve made mine on the stove. (I’ve had some issues with my slow cooker lately so I bid it adieu and sent it packin’. If you have a brand or specific type of slow cooker you love, let me know! I am in the market!)
What I love about this chili is that all the ingredients are usually in my pantry or fridge. I do sometimes have to make a special trip to the store for the meat if I don’t have some sucked up in a FoodSaver bag in the freezer. Plus, this is a really flexible dish; make it as spicy or mild as you like, or as much or little as you need for your get together. And just so ya know, I use 90/10 ground chuck in this recipe. I like it because it’s less greasy and honestly, no body likes to eat a chili bun that is eating it’s way through the bottom of the bun before you get finished.
Okay, let’s get this going…
I add the hot sauce after I’ve mixed all the other ingredients up because some days, it just smell spicier than others. And I don’t want to make it too hot. (Weird, I know.) If you do happen to add too much hot, hot, hot, you can fix this at the end. But I’ll explain that in a little bit. Now mix it all up again and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer…
And, if you liked then you should put a lid on it. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little Beyoncé.) But seriously, put a lid on it. This is were the set-it-and-forget-it part comes in…sorta. Just check on it periodically to make sure it’s not bubbling too much or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Generally speaking, I like to simmer my chili for about 3 hours. It just taste sooo good when gets to sit and bubble and marry all together that long. However, if you are in a time crunch or simply just don’t want to cook it for that long, 30 minutes will suffice. You will, though, have to cook for those 30 minutes at about medium heat; no turning it down to a simmer. And really watch it! It will burn if you are not stirring it on a regular basis.
When you’re all finished cooking, the chili should be kinda thick. Not too liquidy. (Yes, that is a word. I said so myself.) But if you’ve used a higher fat meat, then you will probably have more liquid than you need. It’s okay! Just crush up some flake breakfast cereal – like corn flakes or something similar – and add it to the pot. About 1/4 cup should be good but be your own judge. It’s always better to err on the side of too little than too much in the beginning. Give it a good stir and continue to cook just a minute more. You will notice the meat really coming together and soaking up the liquid. Once this happens, you’re finished! Turn the heat off and serve!
(p.s. I actually don’t use Kellog’s Corn Flakes. It’s usually some type of flake bran cereal I have in the pantry; like right now, it’s an organic multibran flakes with flax. But you get the point.)
*Okay, now I said I would tell you how to calm down the heat if you made it a little too spicy. Here’s the secret…CHOCOLATE. Yep, that’s it. At the end of the cooking time, taste test your chili and add in 1-2 squares of milk chocolate – like Hershey’s – and stir it up. Let it melt down and incorporate. Keeping adding more if you need to but don’t add too much. I feel like the best part about this chili is that it is NOT sweet. (Too many chili bun chilis are sweet. Yuck! But that’s my opinion.) Oh, and if you had to add in the cereal, that sometimes has enough sugar in it to mellow the spice down. So always taste before you add the chocolate. ALWAYS.
I like my chili buns will good ‘ole yellow mustard and diced onion. What about you?
Here’s the printable version Chili Bun Chili