For a Christmas gift Mr Rathbone pledged to test 3 recipes for the forthcoming Cooking the Detectives book for me. What a lovely present!
This was the first one ticked off the list. A very tasty chili courtesy of Robert Wagner.
The above pic was taken before the addition of Mexican Corn, it’s no longer called this in the UK we discovered, instead it’s now called Sweet Corn & Peppers – when did that happen?
There were a few other things that puzzled us about the recipe. Firstly Canola oil. We don’t have this in the UK so we used vegetable oil. Secondly, elephant garlic? Turns out it’s an actual thing – BIG garlic so the cloves are milder than your ordinary garlic.
Thirdly, tomato sauce here in the UK is often what folks call ketchup but we knew that’s not what was meant, so we used passata.
Finally “commercial” chili powder? A glance through the rest of this book, which is a great read for a chili head, gave us some clues.
Basically we decided that Robert meant the kind of chili powder sold in the USA that has EXTRA stuff in it. So not just straightforward chili powder, something beefed up with things like oregano, cumin and garlic powder. So that’s what we did. We added a couple of pinches of each of those to the mix and we were well chuffed with the results.
I would say Robert’s chili recipe is a good solid basic chili – it has earned its spot in the book – yippee! I wonder if Mr Rathbone is game to test Stephanie Powers’ Pierogies recipe so he can do the double?
We reckon a full recipe of this would serve a lot more than 6. Mr R made half the recipe and this was easily 4 portions.
I’ve just realised. It’s Valentine’s Day as I write this, and I’m thinking about Hart to Hart and writing about chili. I love chili!
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Canola oil is a vegetable oil, silly non-Canadian! It’s from the canola plant, which everyone else in the world calls rapeseed, but we Canadians decided that was impolite and unpatriotic 😀 (actually canola is rapeseed cultivar of superior deliciousness)
It’s funny you couldn’t find any, because I was doing my usual “Do they not have canola margarine anywhere?” search at American grocery stores while on holidays last month. I don’t understand American margarine, it’s so weirdly blended. Give me my canola oil margarine or give me… well, okay, I ended up accepting a butter/olive oil mix-thing.
Anyway, canola oil – surprisingly difficult to find elsewhere. But we have lots here in Canada.
AHA! I wonder why Robert specified it?! Actually, rapeseed oil is easy to get here in the UK, and I have some in the cupboard, I could have taken some of that over to Mr Rathbone’s! You learn something every day, thanks VT!
I know, But I still used sunflower oil like I always do ! But though at first I was wary of the sweetcorn and chicken broth I found both a pleasant addition. The sweetcorn adds a nice splash of colour and always used to use cayenne pepper before I started following Chasens/VP’s versions religiously . But I’m sure both Natalie and Robert must have been acqainted with Chasens Chili and this is not so far from it really. And it starts with a good sofrito and if elephant garlic is not to hand Gia Garlic puree is a good substitute as it’s milder than fresh. Probably right about the commercial chili powder, every time I’ve been to the States I’ve come home with packets and sachets of pre-mixed ‘chili’ spices and they’ve all made perfectly good chili as far as I recall. Anyway this is a nice chili and I’m hoping Natalie would have been impressed by my attempt . And I’ve some left over bell pepper for Rancho Huevos tomorrow .
Oooooh Mark, once again you are making me very hungry in the wee small hours! Glad you enjoyed this chilli and love the fact you are following it with Natalie’s Huevos Rancheros, I love that recipe. It’s interesting to hear that this recipe is close to Chasens and I agree with you about the sweetcorn adding a nice pop of colour. I’m assuming RW’s hasn’t knocked Chasens off your number one spot though?!
Ha ha, never ! Chasens is my go to now since I first cooked it and then dialled down the salt, but as with VP’s it’s quite intense in its depth of flavour rather than ‘hot’ spicy which I really like, despite the addition of cayenne RW’s is milder and none the worse for it, but no Chasens will always be it for me as a start off point to pimp when trying other versions from or made to the letter from Cooking with Columbo .. I’m also enjoying this one with good dollops of Stokes Tomato sauce a la the good Detective himself, just wish I could get some saltines . Sorry if this makes you hungry all over again!
ARG! I am hereby instating a rule that I will only read your comments when I’ve just eaten. I have a table booked for dinner at 6 and I am RAVENOUS. Let’s hope they have chili on the menu!
Living in California I have easy access to all the ingredients listed. Don’t hold it against me but I put “American” Chili Powder in a ton of dishes!
Oooh Rene – do let me know if you try Robert’s recipe! I made another chili last night – Jane Russell’s – it had a can of tomato soup in it! I certainly don’t hold your chili habit against you, I’m the same. I just wish it was as easy to get hold of exciting blends here. We are usually just offered “mild” or “hot”. I used to have Mexene and Gebhardt in my cupboard, but like you, I sprinkle it around liberally. Now I just have a little bit of a Spice Islands jar. I feel a trip to the States coming on!