Monday, September 12, 2011

Smokey Chili Mac...its all from the smoked spices

I'm a huge fan of smoked spices and salts.  Why? Its easy to add smokiness to the final product without having to resort to using "liquid smoke" which does leave a funky aftertaste at times.  The obsession started with simple smoked paprika for salmon a few years ago and has since grown to include other smoked spices in the pantry.  This recipe uses a few to bring about a complete change in a family standby.

In my pantry I have recently added ground dried chipotle.  That is a potent smoked and dried jalapeno that instead of being packed in a liquid adobo sauce it is simply ground to a powder.  Use it sparingly and you can always add a bit more if the final dish doesn't pack enough heat...its a lot easier than trying and failing to remove some if you add to much.

Another trick I use to punch up the flavor and give it an all day simmering taste is to use beef bouillon to the Chili Mac.  I do use the "Better than Bouillon" brand as it is much lower in salt than the cubes are.  If you use the cubes wait to season with salt until after you have dissolved in the cube to prevent over salting your dish.

Smokey Chili Mac

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can beans (I used basic kidney beans)
  • 1/4 t chipotle  chili powder
  • 1 t  smoked paprika
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 2 t Better than Bouillon beef flavor
  • 2 C water
  • 1 1/2 C macaroni
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Monterrey Jack/Cheddar shredded cheese blend.

Brown beef in large stock pot.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add spices and cook an additional minute stirring the whole time until they are toasty.  Add tomatoes, water and bouillon.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Add macaroni, increase heat and cook 12-15 minutes until tender.  Serve in large bowl with a sprinkle of the shredded cheese.

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