chili, well under $3 a serving

It’s been cold, so we felt like having a batch of chili. Two pounds of ground turkey and a bag of small red beans and a bottle of Rogue Mocha Porter later, among other things, we had a big pot of tallasiandude’s special-recipe chili. Yum!

And because we are both nerds, and both thinking about how to save money on food, we tried to figure out how cost-effective this chili really is. So far we reckon it’s about 10-11 person-meals’ worth of food, and it cost us $21 to make.  That’s $2.10 per meal.  If you also count the accessories (plain yogurt, brown rice, cheddar cheese, toast, and corn chips), that’s an extra $5 to the total… leaving the per-meal cost still pretty damn low, at $2.60.

That’s not too shabby, considering we used expensive beer and kosher meat and organic vegetables (for the most part).  It’s a good meaty chili, flavorful and filling.

Saute 3 roughly-chopped onions and 1/2 a head chopped garlic in 2 tbs butter (or bacon fat if you have it).  Add the turkey and cook through.  Chop half a head of celery, and saute in 1 tbs butter in the soup pot.  Stem and seed 6 serranos and 3 anaheims (or whatever chiles suit you), chop and add to celery.  Dump the turkey and onions into the pot with the chiles.  Add 1 lb of small red beans, previously soaked (or quick-soaked), and 1 large can of whole tomatoes, plus half a can of water and a bottle of dark beer.  Add 3-5 mini Hershey bars and/or dark chocolate mini squares, whatever you have around — unsweetened chocolate does tend to make it too bitter though.  Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper and salt to your liking.  Stew the heck out of it for a few hours on low heat.  Serve hot with toast or rice, topped with cheddar cheese and/or plain yogurt and a tangy hot sauce if you want a little more than the mild oomph the fresh chiles give.  Tortilla chips are nice with it too.

fish soup

We got some fish frames for free and I made two soups with ’em. First I made a big pot of fish stock, pulling out the fish once it was cooked and picking off the meat, returning the bones and skin to the simmering soup.
Half the stock became a ghetto bouillabaisse, with only the picked fish meat in it along with the fennel and onion and saffron. Very nice, and much cheaper than the regular bouillabaisse we make for company.
The other half became a Russian fish soup with potato, onion, mushroom, tomato, wine, garlic, dill, lemon and paprika. I used some Trader Joe’s mahi mahi and mixed seafood (scallop, squid and shrimp) since the free fish bits were all gone. This was very nice indeed, warming and refreshing at the same time.