Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chili Cups

While helping my mother unpack some of the boxes she never got to after her move, I came across two boxes of cookbooks, accordion files and newspaper clippings of recipes that she had collected since she was married in the 40’s.  If you’re like me, this is like finding a treasure chest!  You can see some of the other things I found in her kitchen by clicking here.
This recipe was cut from a newspaper (probably the Oakland Tribune) some time in the early 60’s.  I guessing this from an ad on the back of the recipe that show a man and a woman shopping for groceries in suits, hat’s and gloves...yeah... no one has dressed like that to go grocery shopping in 50 years.
The title of the article with the recipe was titled “Chili Cups Are The Hit of Party”.  I agree, these would be perfect for a sports game party or a Sunday brunch gathering.  I also think they would be a hit with kids.  If you have picky eaters, you could add carrots, squash or spinach to the chili (if you chop it up in small pieces) and the kids would never know that it was in there.
The recipe said to line the bottom of each cup with American cheese after baking.  I think American Cheese is an embarrassment.  Really, this is the best cheese we could come up with to put our name on?  I could have used a nice sharp cheddar, and you could too, but I don’t need the cholesterol.  If you’re not vegan or don’t worry about the fat, put some cheese in there, it would be tasty.  I also added a little salt, the recipe didn’t call for any.  The instructions say to cut the “shortening” into the flour with knives but I think you can use a food processor, food processors weren’t invented when this recipe was published.
I used these little oven proof glass baking dishes to form the cups.  If you don’t have anything like this, you probably could use a muffin tin upside down.  

The recipe also said to use canned chili but I made my own. 
Chili Cups
Serves 6 - Use organic ingredients whenever possible (especially cornmeal!)
For the Corneal Cups
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour (I tried these with half whole wheat but they weren’t good)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread (or other transfat free, expeller pressed butter substitute)
5 tablespoons water
Cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚
Mix cornmeal, flour and salt together in a bowl or food processor.
Add the Earth Balance and cut it into the flour mixture until it’s the size of small peas.
Gradually add the water, mixing until the mixture holds together.
Divide the dough into two balls.
Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface to 6” wide and 18” long.  
Cut three 6” wide circles from each one.
Drape the circles over an oven proof baking dish and make 5 folds to form the cup.
Put them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the baking cups.
For the Chili
1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola, sunflower or safflower oil
1 whole yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups diced tomatoes or 1 (28 oz) can of tomatoes
1 1/2 cup soy crumbles or finely diced tempeh burger or Boca style burger.
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (or more depending on your heat tolerance)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 cups cooked kidney beans
Optional Garnish: sour cream, green onion and avocado 
Add oil to a frying pan heated on a medium flame.
Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add crumbles, tomatoes, spices and salt, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Turn flame to low and add the kidney beans, simmer for 5 minutes.
Fill cornmeal cups with chili and garnish with your favorite toppings.
(if you’re adding cheese pop the filled cups back into the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese before garnishing)

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