Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Chili ramblings

I soaked a pound of red beans overnight so I could get them cooked and in the freezer for future use. Once they were cooked, though, I decided to use half of them in chili.

We love chili, and I always make at least a double batch so I can freeze some. We have plenty of ground beef now (rest in peace, Meatloaf). I use the Better-Homes-and-Gardens recipe, which is listed as low-fat and actually contains more vegetables than meat. It's 381 calories for 1/4 of the recipe.

  • 12 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 small)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
So I took another of my trips down memory lane and thought of how my mother made chili: She'd buy what she called a "chili brick" and add water to it. Maybe there was more; that's all I remember. Mother made a much thinner chili than I do; in fact, she called it chili soup, not just chili.

I wondered if anybody still makes or uses chili bricks and went to Google for the answer:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Another method of marketing commercial chili in the days before widespread home refrigerators was "brick chili", in the production of which nearly all of the moisture was squeezed out to leave a solid substance roughly the size and shape of a half-brick. Wolf Brand was sold in a brick before switching to a canned product.[2] Commonly available in small towns and rural areas of the American Southwest in the first three-quarters of the 20th century, brick chili has largely outlived its usefulness and is now difficult to find."

How about that? No wonder I hadn't thought of it in years.

Do any of my readers recall "brick chili" or "chili bricks"?


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Never heard of them but I love chili. I like to add some chopped green pepper and a bayleaf or 2 to mine also. I used the canned beans and have never used the dried ones. That is one huge pot of chili that you make. I always think it tastes better the 2nd time around. Good idea to freeze it. 'On Ya'-ma

Helen said...

I have never heard of those chili bricks. I like chili but it doen't like me. It gives me acid reflux bad. I still eat it sometimes. Helen

Happy Being Me said...

I remember my mom talking about "brick chili" How funny. Take care.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Yep, I remember it and can still get it around here. It's in a waxed paper/carton type thingy. I can't remember the exact brand and I haven't bought any in years because I always make it homemade these days.

Anonymous said...

I remember my Dad used one of those bricks as the base of his famous chili that he would make once a month on a Sunday. I haven't seen one in years, I'll have to see if I can find one the next time I go to the store. I'm not sure of the brand, but I remember it was in red packaging. Now I am hungry for chili!

Anonymous said...

never heard of the "bricks"...but then I didn't grow up eating chili...never fixed or ate it until after I was married...I love it...I use Brooks Chili Base....and add what I want...I think any chili is as you like it yourself...had a friend who added the tiny shrimp to his....it was good...but I liked mine better LOL...gonna look for those "bricks" tho...sounds interesting!!!! hugs...Ora

Unknown said...

Never heard of the brick. I make my chili very similar to yours.

Nance said...

Donna....YEP, I remember those. My dad used them to make his great chili. Yummmmm. My dad was a cook in the Navy during WWII....he really had a way with a BEAN !!! He made THE best Navy Bean Soup. He was an awesome cook. And a great pastry chef too....lol. It's no wonder I'm in the shape I'm in these days. Too much good cookin' in my house as a child growin' up.

Thanks AGAIN for the memories Donna !

Anonymous said...

Anyone looking for a great Chili Brick should check out http://www.chilibrick.com

Carlene Noggle said...

Danny's mama always made her chili thin like soup and that is the way Danny liked his. So that is the way I made it for him. Now that you mention it, I have noticed that since he died my chili is not as thin !
love ya,