Monday, February 4, 2013

Chili Mac with Root Beer

Last night's Super Bowl was one of the craziest ones I can remember, if not the nutsiest. But one other thing made the night memorable at our household: It was the night I decided to make up a recipe for the first time since I started cooking!

I know, I know. That probably seems really hard to believe. But up until now, I've never completely winged it...I've made substitutions or left stuff out, but I'd never just decided to start cooking and hope for the best. And guess what? It actually worked out this time!

On Friday, Sean's workplace had its annual Souper Bowl, a soup and chili competition. I whipped up some of Liz's chocolate beer chili to send with him and of course, didn't get to have a bite. Naturally, I came home craving it later that day, but more specifically I wanted something I don't think I've had in years: chili mac. I looked at a bunch of recipes online, but none of them were quite what I envisioned; for some reason, I really was stuck on the idea of experimenting with soda. Here's what I did.

I browned beef in a stock pot and seasoned it with cumin, chili powder, a little chipotle chili powder and oregano. Once the beef was cooked, I drained off the grease and added three cloves of minced garlic, diced onions and a can of green chiles, drained. I let that cooke until I felt the onions were close to translucent and then added a can of diced tomatoes.

I stirred the beef and tomatoes and let the mixture cook for a couple minutes, then added about 2 cups of root beer, 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce and 3 splashes of Texas Pete. All of that could be optional, honestly, but it helps establish layers of flavor. 

I then added macaroni and brought the mixture to a boil. Once it came to a boil, I turned it down to a simmer, put the cover on the pot and let it cook for about 15 more minutes. I took off the lid and let it cool off for a few minutes, then dished it out.

If you like cheddar cheese in your chili mac (and really, why wouldn't you?), you can add that in earlier to fully integrate it into your sauce, or you can add it to your bowl in layers and stir it all up to get it nice and melty.

The whole mixture came out delicious. The root beer makes it sweet, so be mindful that you might have to pump up the spices or add peppers to get a real kick.

Chili Mac Recipe Below

Chili Mac with Root Beer

  • 1 pound of ground beef (or sirloin or turkey...your choice)
  • 28 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes
  • Can of Green Chiles
  • 1/2 of a white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder (or use actual chipotle pepper in adobo sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of root beer
  • Splash of Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • Splash of Texas Pete sauce (optional)
  • Elbow macaroni (use your judgment how much you want)
  • Finely shredded Cheddar Cheese
  1. Brown ground beef in a stock pot on medium heat, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Drain grease.
  2. Add diced onions and green chiles and let cook until onions get soft and close to translucent.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, with liquid and stir mixture together.
  4. Add root beer, worcestershire and hot sauce. Stir together.
  5. Allow the mixture to cook for a brief bit (use your judgment) and add uncooked macaroni.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, allow it to boil for a few minutes, then bring down to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until pasta is soft.
  7. Add cheddar if everyone in your house loves it. Add to bowls individually if they don't. 

No comments: