Greek Chili for a Chilly Night

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 085I used to Belly Dance in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants back in the 80s. My favorite “taste” of Greek food included Gyros (with Feta and Lamb), Kabobs (with Sumac), Tzatziki (with Cucumbers), Hummus (from Garbanzo Beans AKA Chickpeas) and Spanakopita (with Spinach). So why not mix those flavors with my favorite dish: Chili?

My original chili was Beef Chili. My family loved it! It was thick, meaty and spicy! Using a slow cooker, instead of a stock pot, allowed all of the ingredients time to meld together. Next came CMcCormick Fiery Tastyhicken Chili made with Butter Beans, White Kidney Beans, Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage and chopped Polish Sausage.

To save calories, but keep the bold and spicy flavors intact, my next chili creation used Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage, Turkey Polish Sausage and Pork Chorizo. In fact, I liked it better than my “Slap Ya Momma” Beef Chili. None of the flavor was missing. And in fact, it was even spicier by using Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero peppers and the McCormick Tasty Fiery Seasoning Mix of Sriracha, Lime and Garlic!

The chili seasoning can make or break your chili. It makes all of the difference in the world. Back when I first started making chili, I would buy the cheapest chili seasoning. You know the one that is Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 003the store brand or 50 cents or less. Then I discovered Williams Chili Seasoning. And I will admit: they are the best. They are the reason why my Chili brings so many compliments.

I have to admit that McCormick Seasonings are stepping up their game. They released the “Tasty” blends, that bump up the flavor using Sriracha, Lime, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Basil, Oregano, etc. I love using the Lemon Zest to season my Tuna and Catfish Nuggets. And when you mix Williams and McCormick together, get ready for a spicy flavor bomb!

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 042I had 3 hours of sleep and my Dishwasher is broken. Which means, I am mixing the meats in the skillet, instead of washing a bowl by hand. I have the slow cooker set for 4 hours, just enough time for a catnap before my Chili dinner on a chilly (19 degree) day!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Ground Lamb, recommended: Marketside Superior Farms, 2 lb.
  2. Pork Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 ozChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 040.
  3. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 1 lb
  4. Spinach, frozen chopped, recommended Great Value, 12 oz
  5. Garbanzo Beans, Chick Peas, recommended: Bush’s Best, two 15.5 oz. cans
  6. Kidney Beans, Dark Red, recommended: Great Value, 15.5 oz.
  7. Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, two 14.5 oz. cans
  8. Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Chili Style, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 046
  9. Jalapeno Peppers, diced, recommended: Great Value, 4 oz.
  10. Chili Seasoning, Tex-Mex style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  11. Chili Seasoning, Original style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  12. Fiery Tasty Seasoning Mix with Sriracha, Lime and Garlic, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz.
  13. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.
  14. Garlic, smashed, 10-11 cloves
  15. Sumac, recommended: Zamouri Spices, ½ teaspoonChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 052
  16. Cabernet Sauvignon, recommended: Yosemite Road, 1 cup
  17. Balsamic Vinegar, 2-3 teaspoons
  18. Liquid to thin it out, such as Cola, Chicken Broth, Water or Ice Cubes (as needed, depending on how thick or thin you prefer your chili to be), ½ to 1 can.
  19. Plastic Gloves, disposal will do
  20. Slow Cooker Liners, recommended: Reynolds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gloves oChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 083n and ready to cut off the Garlic heads. Add them to the slow cooker liner and smash them with a small bowl.
  2. Mix ground Lamb, Italian Sausage and Pork Chorizo in the skillet and then brown in skillet for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add half of the Wine and Mirepoix. Cook on low for 5 minutes and then drain. I use an empty bean or diced tomato can for the grease.
  3. Drain and rinse beans. I top the beans with a dash of Sumac!
  4. Top the smashed Garlic with the remaining Mirepoix and Spinach. Then add the Tex-Mex Chili seasoning, Wine and Balsamic Vinegar. Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 049
  5. Add the Meats and then the Fiery Tasty Seasoning packet.
  6. Add the drained beans and then the Original Chili seasoning
  7. Add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes.
  8. Thin out with Liquids, if you want thinner Chili. I used a half can of Cola for a “sweet” touch.
  9. Add the Jalapeno Peppers and Sumac during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
  10. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, stir halfway through.

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 086I like to top mine with Feta & Cheddar Cheese, Diced Cucumbers, Lime Juice and a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream.

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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GARLICKY GREEK LEMON CHICKEN

Greek Chicken Dinner 029The Umami Flavor Bomb!

On cooking show competitions it is always a compliment to hear that your food has Umami. You, know, that bold flavor bomb that comes from strong ingredients like garlic, bacon, onion, cheese, pepper, anchovies or lemon/lime, AKA the 7 wonders of the food world. u·ma·mi /o͞oˈmämē/noun: Umami

  • a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate.

I love food with Middle Eastern flavors such Sumac, Feta and Greek Chicken Dinner 026Greek Yogurt. I used to Belly Dance at the Kabob House. One of my favorite dishes was their Lamb Kabob and Rice, seasoned with Sumac. So here is my take on a baked chicken, marinated with Sumac and Greek Yogurt. Opa!

GREEK CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:

1. Chicken fresh bone-in, such as thighs or breasts, 2-3 ½ lb. (or use Frozen Chicken that you can defrost over 3 days)

2. Stubb’s Chicken Marinade Mix Citrus & Onion, 1 oz

3. Sumac, recommended Zamouri Spices, 2-3 tablespoons

4. Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 8-16 oz.Samsung 309

5. Anchovies, recommended Crown Prince, 2 oz.

6. Feta cheese chunk, recommended President, 4 oz.

7. Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish

8. Olive Medley (Kalamata pitted, whole and sliced, Green Salad sliced, Black Olives sliced) ¾ cup

9. Capers non-pareil, recommended Crosse & Blackwell, ¼ cup

10. Lemons, 2 (slice one and dice the other into 4 chunks)

11. Tomato, dice into 4 chunksGreek Chicken Dinner 014

12. Garlic, 5 cloves

13. Vinegar (your favorite, Red Wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, etc.)

14. Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided

15. Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided

16. Naan Bread, 1 per meal

17. Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon or less for Naan

GREEK CHICKEN INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Garlic Greek Chicken 015Fresh Chicken (add to Ziplock bag and cover with Sumac and Chicken Marinade). I was not baking my chicken that day, so I froze it.

2. For fresh chicken, add the Yogurt and marinade for ½ hour or longer

3. For frozen chicken, add the Yogurt to the bag and thaw in refrigerator for 3 days

4. Preheat oven to 325 when ready to cook

5. Season lemon and tomatoes with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf

6. Add chicken to baking dish and cover with Anchovy oil

7. Put the Anchovies beneath the chicken pieces and top the Anchovies with GarlicGreek Chicken 003

8. Add the Olive Medley with Capers between pieces and cover with Feta Cheese Chunk slices

9. Cover chicken with Lemon slices

10. Pour vinegar over the chicken

11. Cover with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf

12. Cover with foil

13. Bake at 325 for 1 hourGreek Chicken 006

14. Remove foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

15. Add Truffle Oil to lemon and tomato chunks

16. Grill Lemon and tomato chunks

17. Remove and grill Naan bread for 2 minutes per side to get grill marks

SAFFRON RICE INGREDIENTS:

  1. Yellow Saffron Rice, recommended Mahatma, 5 oz.
  2. Turkey Broth and/or water 1 ½ to 2 cups
  3. Chicken Bouillon Cubes, 2Greek Chicken Dinner 001
  4. Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish
  5. Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 2 tablespoons
  6. Saffron, recommended Sun Brand, 5 to 10 strands
  7. Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon
  8. Truffle Zest, ¼ teaspoon
  9. Butter, 2 pats, separated
  10. Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon
  11. Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon

SAFFRON RICE INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add Truffle Oil, Truffle Zest, 1 Butter pat, Rosemary and Tarragon and heat for 2 minutes in your sauce pan
  2. Prepare according to Rice package directions.
  3. Add Bouillon Cubes and Broth/Water to pan and bring to a boilGarlic Greek Chicken 011
  4. Add rice, cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Stir in Yogurt, Feta Cheese crumbles and 1 Butter pat

I am out of Tzatziki sauce at the moment. However, you can whip one up using Yogurt, Lemon juice (from the grilled lemons), Garlic and Dill. Perhaps, I will make that tomorrow, using my mini Chop Blender.

The baked Feta Cheese chunk slices mimic Greek Flaming Cheese: Saganaki! Even though it was baked, it did become crisp and benefit from the Olive Tapenade, Balsamic Vinegar and Anchovy Umami. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saganaki

  • In Greek cuisine, Saganaki (Greek σαγανάκι) is any one of a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan, the best-known being an appetizer of fried cheese. Garlic Greek Chicken 004
  • The cheese used in cheese saganaki is usually graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, or sheep’s milk feta cheese. Regional variations include the use of formaela cheese in Arachova, halloumi in Cyprus, and vlahotiri in Metsovo. The cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. It is eaten with bread.
  • Other dishes cooked in a saganaki pan include shrimp saganaki (Greek: γαρίδες σαγανάκι, garídes saganáki), and mussels saganaki (Greek: μύδια σαγανάκι, mýdia saganáki), which are typically feta-based and include a spicy tomato sauce.
  • In many United States and Canadian restaurants, after being fried, the saganaki cheese is flambéed at the table (sometimes with a shout of “opa![2]), and the flames then usually extinguished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This is called “flaming saganaki” and apparently originated in 1968 atGarlic Greek Chicken 005 The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago‘s Greektown,[2][3][4][5] based on the suggestion of a customer to owner Chris Liakouras.[6].

That was the best and most flavorful rice I have ever made in my lifetime. It might be just as good as the Kabob House, but it will be just the Umami I need for dinner! Opa!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).Greek Chicken Dinner 025

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

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