Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thumberto is looking Chili tonight!

While on the phone with a friend from waaaaaaaaay back, Rhondo, she asked me what I was making for our dinner tonight. I thought about it for a minute and started thinking about how HouseOfAnnie had a forum on nachos and another blog on types of chips to use. She and I discussed that we hate it when we order them out and they are piled high with chips and little ingredients. My feelings are that it’s sort of like a compost pile, you have to alternate layers or it does not work properly (Okay somewhat food related), and that I hate to look under the first layer of cheese, meat, or whatever come on them finding naked chips. Less than a teaspoon of sour cream and salsa dolloped at the center. Sure, that will help finish them off! Layers are the key to a good pile of nachos in my house...

I told her I had several things in mind for the next few days, and was about to go buy groceries for the weekend cooking. Nachos were then decided for the both of us, and we said we would talk later to see how they came out. As I went wandering through the store without an actual list, only the one I think I remember in my head, I started filing the shopping cart. Green onions, salad fixings, mushrooms…as I was thinking about what I might have in the cupboard…cheese, sour cream, jalapeƱos, and all that was left was meat and beans.

I have my favorite grocers here in NJ, and I know the meat managers well. Sometimes I call them to see what specials they have for the month if I am having company, and there are no good deals at my catering butcher I shop through. John was in and we talked about making chili, he is a meat man through and through. He remembered having a cut of lamb that he was going to take home, because he couldn't sell it. There was enough to share with me, and there was a nice network of fat running through it. (Marbling is sometimes referred to as 'graining', or lines of fat running through meat). Ah ha! Lamb Chili on nachos was a brilliant idea, and my hubby snubbing his nose up at my home state comfort food tonight was not going to happen. He would get a gourmet version and like it.

I checked out all smiles and proud of my idea. I would show my friend a thing or two about on the fly cooking. Loaded up the goods and drove home. Just as I pulled up in front of my house, I remembered the most vital part of tonight’s menu, chips!

Ay yi yi…what was I to do? I did not want to drive back to the store, so I would go in and see what we have. Maybe some left over chips from game night? They would just get soggy anyway and no one would know the better. Nope, no chips to be found; only a loaf of cranberry focaccia bread I bought and had not cut into. Okay, that would work if I cut them thinly like crostinis. So it was on, and I pulled out my lamb recipes (of my head of course), and remembered a cooking fusion demo I did a year ago, Chai Marinated Lamb Chops. Well it all worked out and now I will give you the recipe, because this was a crowd pleaser.

Chai Lamb Chili & Nachos

In order prepare and cook:

1 Chai tea bag in 1 cup water; steap while you cook lamb

1 medium red onion, small dice
3 tablespoons oil (I used Sokol Blosser grapeseed oil, Citrus Cilantro)
1 lb Lamb roast, cut into small pieces
-saute in pan on high till starts to brown well

1 tablespoon of each or more if you like!
garlic powder
chili powder
garham masala
pinch of cilantro (add to flavor, but I always have to have some green at meals)

Salt and Pepper to taste
-saute for 3 minutes

Remove from heat and add cup of chai tea

Cook for 10 minutes; and then add

1 can tomatoes diced
1/2 can tomato paste
can of kidney beans or beans of choice

Simmer for 1 hour covered on low heat until meat is tender and sauce is thick.

Vegetarian version I have added chopped carrots, celery, and mushrooms before, and this works very well with the flavor.

Simmer while covered to thicken

Slice bread thinly and toast for crostini, and then layer cheese, onions and lamb chili

Thumberto says "Muy Bueno, Senorita"! Good thing he helped me straighten out this dinner night disaster...

Thumberto is so happy he tips his sombrero to all of you bloggers!

My husband decide he only heard 'lamb' when I told him what was for dinner, so he opened a bottle of 2003, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and then he felt like he was eating gourmet chili nachos, lol