Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mixicali

My Beloved is not generally that fond of chili, but I love it. If I make it from scratch with lots of beef, he does enjoy it, but I don't have it on frequent rotation because he's not a big a fan. However, he is a huge automobile racing fan and can be tempted to purchase just about anything having to do with cars that have unmuffled engines and slick tires. So, when I read that Carroll Shelby invented a line of chili kits, I knew he'd be intrigued. So I raced on down to the store mentioned on the chili kit website to purchase both the beef and the white chili kits. 

It was a revelation to me just to plunge willy-nilly into the center part of an unfamiliar modern supermarket - I usually do all my food shopping around the outer edges where the fresh stuff is kept. I don't think I knew there were so many prepared foods in the world as I found on the shelves of that market. For a fan of Michael Pollan, it was eye-opening and a little frightening - all those "food-like substances" packaged to keep forever. Ulp. Aware that I was probably supporting the evil Monsanto with at least one of my kits, I felt traitorous and oddly guilty.

First, we tried the beef chili with black beans, garlic and onion added to the browning phase. The kit had four envelopes inside, a large one with rust-red powder, and three smaller ones with other flavorings. I left out the masa, salt ,and cayenne pepper packets because the chili was thick enough, we don't like a lot of salt, and we are spice wimps. I made the chili one day and served it the next, as dishes like chili are often better the second day and, being a mix, I wanted to give it every chance to be good.

When I lifted the lid after re-heating, the rich aroma of chiles was so strong that I poured us each a glass of milk, just in case. It was plenty spicy for us; I can only imagine what it would have been like had I added the cayenne packet.

For the same meal, I indulged in a corn bread mix, too. What the heck, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, right? I forget the brand, and I have thrown away the package; it probably doesn't matter which industrial mix I used. I added some green onion tops to the mix for color and a little more taste, melted a lot of butter in a hot, black iron skillet, poured the mix into the middle of the sizzling butter, and set the pan into a hot oven for about 15 minutes.

For stuff out of a box with very few improvements on my part, it was a surprisingly good dinner. The chili was hearty as all get out, spicy enough to make us glad of our glasses of milk, deeply flavorful and filling. I'd trust that racy Texan to make good chili again.

The corn bread was not as hearty and didn't fool us into thinking it was in any way authentic, but it was good, lightly sweet-savory with onion scent, and a nice accompaniment to the chili.

I can't call this meal Mexicali - it's just too fake for that - but Mixicali turned out to be quite surprisingly good, too.

12 Comments:

Blogger katiez said...

I am always amazed at all the processed foods in US supermarkets... We have very little of it here, although it is increasing. We do have an Old El Paso section in our International Foods aisle LOL

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger nancy namaste said...

I am sure that the foodies will forgive you one sin as it was done in the name of love. I use Jiffy Cornmeal mix when I am too lazy to make cornbread from scratch. I think it's pretty good, a bit sweeter than my usual recipe but good in a pinch.

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger Greg said...

Oh the food police got you. Shelby's is just mix of spices. Not sure what is fake about it. Although I must admit lots of things seem better with a little guilt :)

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katiez, my own market carries far less prepared foods - this was a revelation!

Nancy, I will look for Jiffy brand next time I'm in a cornbread mood and lazy. I plan to make real cornbread one day soon, just to see what it's like.

Greg, you're right - I added all the other seasonings and the meat - it was just spice packets in the box. Still, a nice mix of spices in the main packet and I didn't have to guess what they were.

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Brava, Zoomie! Did you like it? I heard you describe it, but you didn't say if it worked for you. And did Your B. like it?
We made a pot of chili the other week, but it was all home cookin'. Pretty good.

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookie, yes, we both liked it, but my homemade is better. Will try the white chili next time the temperature drops.

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

White chili! Fun.

Saturday, June 08, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, yes, I'm anticipating that it will be even better than red.

Sunday, June 09, 2013  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

It is always fun to try something new. I noticed that you did not use all the packets. I am wondering if you did not actually taste the chili the way it was intended to taste. I think I will give it a try and follow the instructions. I will never know unless I try.

Sunday, June 09, 2013  
Blogger Diane said...

I'm a fan of white chicken chili. Will be fun to hear how the white is. There's something a bit strange with some of your posts. In my link to your blog, it looks like you have posted a new one on Cherries Jubliant, but when I click on the link this is the most recent post. It's happened a couple of times, so just thought I would mention it.

Sunday, June 09, 2013  
Blogger Toons said...

You might try bacon fat instead of butter in your cast iron cornbread pan. Yum yum with a bit of crunch.

Sunday, June 09, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Chilebrown, the directions said to add the masa if the chili was too runny, but it wasn't so I didn't. The cayenne would have made it too spicy for us, but might be fine for you. You can find the kits at Foodsco in Richmond. I will await your verdict.

Diane, that happens when I forget to date them ahead. That post and the others will appear later. Sometimes I write when im inspired and post for later.

Toons, thanks for the starter, which I duly fed. Good idea about the bacon fat. Next time!

Sunday, June 09, 2013  

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