Short Rib Chili with Pimento Cheese Hushpuppies
MUSIC PAIRING: Ludacris, Word of Mouf
Do you roll your eyes at jersey-clad folks? Are you annoyed by people constantly talking about drafting their fantasy league players? Have you had it with people droning on about Peyton Manning? Well, I feel sad for you. I love it all. Football season to me is like the Olympics of the food world. Yes, I do happen to love the game too but honestly, it’s like there’s this nation-wide permission slip to eat and drink whatever you want on football Sunday. That greatly competes with my love of the game.
Being from Atlanta, I naturally started out as a Falcons fan. Football Sunday was serious, folks. I was told early on by my friend, Dave, that this was not a day for chit-chat (unless I was asking game-related questions or ordering more beer) and that if I wanted to be a part of football watching, I’d need to be seen and not heard. After a few weekends in a row where I realized he wasn’t joking, I started taking an actual interest in the game, asking intelligent questions and becoming – gasp! – a real football fan.
In 2007 when Michael Vick, then Falcons quarterback, was convicted of running a dog fighting ring, my love for the Falcons stopped. See, that’s how girls watch football. We think Who cares about the entire rest of the Falcons team?!? Their leader was cruel to animals. Shame on him! I could never award my loyalties to such despicable behaviors so I stopped watching and supporting them. They owe me big time too because I spent the entire 2006 season watching them alone in my neighborhood NYC bar. Pffff!
Also in 2007 when I broke up with the Falcons, I became an official Giants fan and remain one to this day. I’ve seen them on top winning two Superbowls and down low sucking royally yet I remain devoted despite Dave and our other friend, Jay, calling me Judas. Clearly, they’re still Falcons fans.
As mentioned, I absolutely love all the food that surrounds football season. Wings, nachos, jalapeno poppers…drool. On a slightly healthier end of football food sits chili IF you can manage not to load it with sour cream, cheese and fritos. Who does that though? I mean. I had friends over for the game last weekend and all I was craving was a big pot of chili so chili it was. I also wanted to do something a little different in place of the fritos that I dearly love so, when I came across a recipe for pimento cheese hushpuppies, I looked no further.
I only slightly changed the chili recipe using half ground short rib meat instead of all ground chuck but I swear, it made a world of difference. Pretty sure adding short ribs to everything should be how we all cook going forward.
Even though the Giants lost last weekend, there were no tears shed with this grub to distract us.
Why Ludacris? No matter how many years pass since I’ve been a Falcons fan, nothing will compare with how hyped up you’d get in the Georgia Dome when the team ran onto the field with ‘Move Bitch (Get Out Da Way)’ blaring. You’ve never heard louder screams or seen people go so wild. Ludacris will forever get me amped up for football and for chili.
Chili recipe barely adapted by: Smitten Kitchen
Hushpuppies recipe by: For the Love of the South
- 2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 carrots, cut in a small dice
- 1 1/2 pounds ground short rib
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, ground coarse
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
- Dried red pepper flakes, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 15-ounce can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth and vinegar and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, salt and pepper to taste (don't be shy with either) and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until the bell peppers are tender.
- 1 cup of fine-ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup of whole milk (or buttermilk)
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup of pimentos, drained and finely chopped
- Canola, peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is combined. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
- In a 4-quart pot (preferably cast-iron), heat oil at least 3 inches deep to 350, making sure the oil remains at a steady temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Once the oil has reached the appropriate temperature, drop rounded tablespoon-sized scoops into the oil in batches of six. As soon as the hushpuppies begin to float, flip, allowing both sides to get nice and golden brown. (They cook quickly! They only need about 1 minute total in the oil.) Remove the hushpuppies from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Once all of the hushpuppies have drained, place them into a shallow baking pan in a 350 oven for 7-10 minutes until the center of the hushpuppies are set. (You can test them by pricking with a knife and checking to make sure the center is set and no longer runny. If you notice it is still runny, place them back in the oven for a few more minutes.) Serve hot!
- This was my first time making a For the Love of the South recipe and it was mostly great! Next time though, I'd double the amount of both pimentos and cheese as I felt they could've used that boost of flavor.