October 16, 2011

trusting my Rotel to Pioneer Woman

I guard the American items in my pantry with my life, including chocolate chips, canned green chilies, Hershey's cocoa, Kraft Mac-n-cheese packets, and shortening, to name just a few.  Chief among these is always Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies, for you northerners).  When a can of Rotel is opened around here, it is for a very good reason.

Yesterday I took a gamble on Pioneer Woman's "Frito Chili Pie" recipe, which calls for a can of Rotel.  Ree Drummond has yet to let me down in the kitchen, so it wasn't too huge of a gamble (which is why I took it), but it still made me very nervous.  I guess I was feeling trusting, or else my fall chili craving was just too beastly to tame.  I went so far as to thaw a brick of REAL cheese, which I hoard in my freezer, and which costs about $11 a pound.  This meal was either going to be a great success or a cause to mourn. We would find out which, come about 5:30 p.m.
The Fritos that are available for purchase at the import stores are incredibly expensive.  I opted to skip the Fritos and scoop this very thick, very "Frito Chili Pie" chili over the best cornbread you'll ever eat.  (Shout out to Anita for introducing me to this recipe 3 years ago).  Light and sweet, it is almost like cake.  Zion calls it "corncake."

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
In a medium-sized bowl, combine first six ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine last four ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moist. Spread in an 8 x 8 greased baking dish/pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or just until toothpick comes out clean.

The results of my risky Rotel move?  DEE-LISH!!!  Not your typical soup-chili.  Very meaty (2 lbs of beef) with lots of great flavor from the 1/4 cup of cornflour thrown in during the last 20 minutes of simmering.  The flavor was great, and the whole thing just worked so well ladled over our cornbread.  I did have to up the salt, since I was skipping the Fritos, and I had to add water throughout the simmering to keep it from getting too pasty-thick, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly (obeying the "more to taste" next to the Chili powder in the ingredient list).

Even little miss sunshine ate some, though she would have much preferred her usual rice with meat, vegetables, and fishy soy sauce. 

Looks like I will be trusting Pioneer woman with my precious American ingredients again, maybe even with my Crisco!