Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jacques, You Don't Know Jack About Making Chili!

The Jacques in this instance refers to Jacques Pepin, noted French chef. I believe the rest of us already know what "jack" stands for, don't we?

Richie's newest enthusiasm is for Jacques' recipes. I came across "Essential Pepin" by the above and it claims to have more than 700 all-time favorites from his life in food. What follows should be removed from the book ...Look at this list of ingredients ...


2 lbs. dried red kidney beans *
2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1-in. pieces
8 oz. bacon
2 large onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 T jalapeno pepper, chopped
1-28 oz. can of whole Italian tomatoes and juice**
2 teas. coriandor seeds, crushed ***
2 teas. ground cumin
2 teas. dry mustard
1 teas. hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup chili powder

* The International Chili Society contest rules order NO beans or pasta in your chili.

** I was horribly dismayed to learn that the Society accepts canned or bottled tomatoes. As it happens, I can't stand canned tomatoes and I truly don't think they belong in chili.

*** After we went to the supermarket where Richie bought a bottle of coriandor, and was about to try to crush them, I finally saw the lightbulb and looked up "coriandor" which is nothing more than cilantro flowers! He could have used his frozen cilantro cubes from Trader Joe! And, in fact, when the coriandor proved impossible to chop or to be turned into dust in the mini-Cuisinart, he did.

Stewing beef is not an appropriate meat for this dish. Hamburger would have been a helluva lot more palatable.

Despite 1/4 cup chili powder, there was no "heat" at all. In fact, it was vaguely sweet tasting and I put that down to the beans.

Pepin is French. Despite living in this country for many years, he apparently has never tasted real chili, and simply scanned winning recipes and then put together what he THOUGHT went into chili. I believe many of the good citizens of the great state of Texas should band together and send him a bowl of real red (and soon - Pepin isn't getting any younger.)

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