Well, friends. I’m just going to lay it all out there. Consider this a no-judgement zone. Tell me your deepest and darkest secrets….it’s safe here. This is a blog made up of love, compassion and trust between you and I. The tree of trust, lets say. Ate all your kids Easter candy before it made it to the baskets and told yourself it was for their own good? Confess here, you’re in the tree of trust. Do you secretly love the “get cash” option when you are checking out with your Red Card at Target so that you can disguise your coffee addiction? Tree of trust. What? It was just a random guess. I would never do something like that. Friends. My name is Melissa, and I have a major crush on Chef Michael Symon.
I mean, major. I always loved him on Iron Chef…and I’ve read about him and his restaurants over the years. Seemed like a great guy. And then my second child was born. It was December 2014, one of the coldest winters Ive ever known, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was snowing. My two year old was winey. My newborn had not a single other interest aside from eating. And eating. So we stayed in for the day. I gave my two year old a much needed early nap so it was just the baby and I. Hmm. I think I may turn on the TV as long as this child is going to be attached to me for, likely, the remainder of the day. As most of you know, I’m not much of a television watcher. I grabbed the remote, pushed power and the rest is just history, my friends. The Chew was on. I had no idea the show even existed but the minute I saw the panel I was sold. And this moment? This is where
our my love story began. I feel like we’ve been dating for years.
Okay, so in all actuality it’s not really the trashy 50 shades kind of crush. I just want to be his friend. I wouldn’t even ask him for a kiss, or to hold hands, or to couples skate or anything, I swear! I just want to know him. And maybe share a meal and glass of whiskey or two afterwards. Do you think he likes to dance after he has a couple drinks? What would I even wear??!!!! Okay this is getting weird. I’m done. But seriously, the guy is so freaking cool. His love and passion for food is crazy awesome and he seems like one of the most humble men on the planet which is a match made for my heart (did I mention his tattoos? and that he’s Greek? or that he’s hilarious?) Okay, focus, Melissa. Focus.
He’s from Ohio so when I had an idea which involved Cincinnati chili you better believe I Google searched his recipe as inspiration for this one-pot meal. The flavors are knock-your-socks off. For real. And you MUST top it with cheese and chopped onion. One of the best texture parties I’ve been to. My kids and husband went nuts for it. And speaking of my husband, just to make things clear, he’s totally my first pick. Michael and I just have a causal friendship on the side. It may be one-sided, people, but its real.
One-Pot Cincinnati Chili
Adapted from this recipe
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/4 Cup Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cups Crushed Tomatoes
4 Cups Beef Stock
2 Tablespoons Tamari
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 (15 Ounce) Can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
8 Ounces Elbow Quinoa Pasta
Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
Chopped Onion, for garnish
Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, ground beef and onion and cook until meat is browned and onion begins to soften. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, tamari, vinegar and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until it begins to thicken. Stir in beans and pasta and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until pasta is just cooked through, 13-15 minutes. Serve topped with shredded cheddar and chopped onion. Serves 6