This Chili Is Delicious — But It Might Also Be Sexist

“Can a recipe or a plate of food have a gender?” I found myself pondering this very question as I read a “macho recipe” for chili from a new cookbook titled Tastosterone: The Best Cookbook For Men.
Photo: Courtesy of DLP Enterprise LLC.
This book is marketed as “a masculine cookbook,” which is weird and puzzling to me because: What does that even mean?

When you're barraged with snow and ice (and then more snow and more ice), chili is a necessity — it’s a delicious, protein-filled Bowl of Hallelujah, with spice that warms you from the inside. It’s also a versatile, one-pot wonder that can be made in bulk and eaten throughout the week.

However, call me crazy, but I’ve never thought of comfort-food favorites as being gender-specific, so what would a manly chili look like? Turns out, it’s just a standard (granted, very yummy-sounding) recipe. But, that made me feel even more confused, and even frustrated — what about this is ultra-masculine?

I turned to the cookbook’s website to try and understand. The author, Debra Levy Picard, has written recipes for 12 “categories” of men — from Young Boy all the way up to Retired Man — which, admittedly, is impressive. I sincerely applaud her goal, which is to help men gain confidence in the kitchen and encourage them to cook throughout all the phases of their lives.

However, umm, I need this kind of advice and guidance, too! Don’t we all?! Why exclude at least half of the world’s population from your cookbook concept, which has a very noble goal? Also, is it sexist to assume that men want to be macho, just as it's sexist to assume that females want to be dainty or ladylike? Am I overthinking it? So many existential questions!  

I grew so confused and ambivalent in my feelings about this pitch that I had to scroll through my emojis to identify my emotions. In doing so, I realized there is a glaring emoji gap — for the incredulous, slightly exasperated nose pinch.

Regardless, the recipe does sound delicious, so here it is. 
Photographed by Liz Clayman.

King Of The House Chili

Part 1 - Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 lbs ground sirloin
1 lb filet mignon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (save time and ask your butcher to cube the beef for you)
2 cups onion, diced (about 1 large and 2 medium onions)
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced
1 bottle Guinness beer
1/4 cup flour
32-oz can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 (32 oz) boxes of beef broth
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup Mexican chili powder
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

1. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large casserole pot.

2. Sauté meat in butter until browned.

3. With a slotted spoon, remove the browned meat and place in a large bowl.

4. Once butter has cooled, use paper towels to soak up 3/4 of the butter, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pot.

5. Add remaining ingredients into the pot with butter and sauté for 5 minutes.

6. Return meat to the pot. Cook for 30-60 minutes, uncovered.

7. You can eat the chili at this point for a less-spicy taste.

Part 2 - Ingredients
4 hot sausages
4 sweet sausages
2 cups onion, diced (about 1 large and 2 medium onions)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red pepper, diced
6 garlic cloves, mashed (tip: use the side of a knife to crush and mash the garlic)
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced
2 (4 oz) cans green chilies
2 (4 oz) cans jalapeño, drained and chopped
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 small can RO*TEL tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
Pepper to taste

1. Over medium heat, sauté onion in vegetable oil in a large, nonstick pan until translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add red pepper, garlic, chilies, jalapeño, cumin, cayenne pepper, and tomatoes to sautéd onion in pan, and sauté for another 10 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

4. In a disposable aluminum casserole pan, toss hot and sweet sausages with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste.

5. Bake for 40 minutes, and then remove sausage from the oven.

6. Add sautéd vegetable mixture to aluminum pan with sausage, and bake for an another 10 minutes.

7. Remove pan from oven.

8. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sausage from pan with tongs.

9. Cut sausages into 1/2-inch slices.

10. Add vegetable mixture and sausages to casserole pot with chili ingredients from Part 1.

11. Toss, then cook chili over low heat for 35 minutes minimum.

12. Remove from pot and serve in bowls.

13. Top with chopped red onion, fresh cilantro, cheese, lime juice, crackers, and creme (below). Enjoy.
Toppings Ingredients
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed (tip: place the crackers in a large Ziploc bag and use your hands or a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs)
1 lime

Crema Ingredients
8-oz container sour cream
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp lime juice
Zest of two limes
1 plastic squeeze bottle (tip: plastic ketchup or mustard bottles work great; wash and reuse to dispense your chili crema)

Mix sour cream and heavy cream in a small bowl, then add lime juice and zest. Mix all ingredients, then store in plastic squeeze bottle till ready to serve over chili.


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