Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chili

Chili is one of those dishes that has an infinite number of variations. Everyone has their own recipe. I tend to make chili a few times every fall/winter, and after several years of tweaking, I've more or less settled on a recipe that I like. You can cook up a big batch, and keep a bunch in your freezer for later. This soup, like most, tastes much better the next day.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2/4 lb pork loin chops, small dice
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 28oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz. can pink beans
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t oregano
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/2 - 1 t cayenne powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • beef stock or broth
  • Optional ingredients:
  • 1/2 small can chipotle en adobe
  • Mexican chocolate, to taste. The amount I use comes out to about 3-4 T when chopped.
*This recipe is moderately spicy. If you really want to up the heat, just add more cayenne powder or throw in another jalapeno. If you don't like spicy food, leave out the jalapeno and just add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

It's easiest if you prep all of the ingredients ahead of time. Mix together the chili powder, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, and paprika and toast them in a pan. This step enhances the flavor of the spices. In general, you should always toast spices before using them, but I think this is especially important for a dish like chili, which is really built on the spices.
Once all your ingredients are together, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and cook the ground beef.
Remove the beef once it looks done and add the onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft, then add the peppers, spices, oregano, pork and tomatoes. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the beans, a bottle of beer, the bay leaves and, if you are using, the chipotle en adobo and/or the chocolate. Add beef stock until everything is covered and you have the amount of liquid you want. Since the beans will release some starch, this will naturally thicken over time.
Let the chili simmer for at least an hour.

2 comments:

Heather said...

Hey Sam, how many people does this feed?

Sam said...

This should be enough for 8 good sized servings.