Friday, September 25, 2009

All Day Chili

Last weekend, I made a big pot of chili. It's my favorite food for fall and football season. I love starting a pot early in the day and then keeping watch while the aroma fills the house. The long wait makes dinner that much better.

I have a "secret" chili recipe, but I can't keep it to myself any longer. This recipe started with LBJ's Pedernales River Chili, but right away I had to start changing it. LBJ's chili has 4 pounds of beef and only 2 cups of water. I couldn't make anything other than seasoned moist beef with that recipe. I guess when you're the first lady, people just tell you how great your chili recipe is and don't mention that they served it on a plate.

In addition to adding beer and beef stock, I've changed a couple things and tried additional ingredients. Some of them worked; some of them didn't. This is the result of about ten years of tinkering:

4 pounds lean stew beef [1]
Olive oil for browning beef
1 large onion or 2 smaller onions
6 to 9 cloves of garlic, minced
1 quart beef stock or broth [2]
1 pint Guinness or other dark beer
1 pint water [3]
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [4]
1 tablespoon cumin seed
½ cup tomato paste with one tablespoon of cider vinegar (OR) equal amount of ketchup [5]
2 14.5 oz cans stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
2 4 oz. cans Old El Paso chopped green chilies (with liquid)
2 27.5 oz. cans Bush’s dark red kidney beans (rinsed) [6]
Kosher salt to taste

Chop the onion and place aside. Brown the beef in a large skillet using a small amount of olive oil in batches together with the chopped onion and minced garlic. Transfer each batch of meat with its liquid into an 8 quart stew pot (because the beef is lean, there should be little or no grease in the liquid). After you transfer all of the browned beef into the stew pot, cover with the beef broth, the beer and water. Put on medium-low. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, parsley, cayenne pepper and cumin seed. Add the tomato paste with vinegar (or ketchup), the stewed tomatoes, and the green chilies. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to get a low boil. Cook for about five to six hours, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and add the rinsed beans about an hour before you are finished cooking. This recipe makes about 8 to 10 big bowls.

[1] Stew beef can be a one of a few different cuts of cheap, tough beef - usually chuck pectoral or round. The meat should be lean and cut into cubes.
[2] Kitchen Basics makes good beef stock. Beef "broth" has more salt in it; adjust the salt accordingly.
[3] A good bit of the water is going to boil out over the five or six hours of cooking.
[4] This recipe makes a pretty spicy chili. Adjust the cayenne pepper accordingly.
[5] I used to use tomato paste and vinegar, but I used ketchup when I didn’t have tomato paste. The ketchup is just as good.
[6] Some people think adding beans to chili is an abomination. I think they all live in Texas, but I'm not sure. Just be aware that they exist.

I think the first pot of the fall turned out well.

The makings:

The cow:

The skillet:

The assembled pot:

The pot with beans, six hours later:

A bowl of the good stuff:

A bowl of the formerly good stuff after being adulterated by Heather with a handful of cheese:

She might as well put ketchup on a steak.

Happy Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Yummmy! I would also be adding the cheese though. Cheese makes everything better!!