Sunday, October 21, 2012

Just another loser's chili

The annual Portico chili cook-off was today. Of course I entered. I have entered every year so far and have lost every year so far. But I'll pick myself up, brush off my wounded culinary pride, and start working on something for next year. "Winning isn't everything," she says in a weak voice accompanied by the slightest sniffle. I adapted this recipe from several others, with added input from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes on technique. It's a rather traditional chili with a fairly complex taste--lots of subtle undertones--and it's spicy but not unreasonably spicy. It may be a loser, but it's good. Several people asked me for the recipe, so here it is. It needs a better name but this is what it's called today.

Mother Philomena’s Dragon Breath Good Karma Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound beef sirloin, cubed
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 can dark beer
1 cup strong coffee (or 1 tablespoon instant espresso)
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 can beef broth
¼ cup brown sugar
3 ½ tablespoons chili sauce
4 dried guajillo peppers (Penzey’s)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (Penzey’s)
1 teaspoon dried jalapeno pepper (Penzey’s)
1 16 ounce package Rancho Gordo tepary beans, precooked.
Salt to taste


Heat oil in large sauté pan.

Cook onions, garlic, and bell pepper until onions are translucent. Add cumin, cocoa, oregano, cayenne, and coriander and cook about 2 minutes then put mixture into crockpot.

Add ground beef to sauté pan (add more oil if necessary) and cook until brown. Add to crockpot.

Add steak cubes to sauté pan (add more oil if necessary) and cook until brown. Add to crockpot.

Add tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste, beef broth, brown sugar, and chili sauce to crockpot.

Chop stems off and remove seeds from guajillo chilies, tear them into pieces and put in food processor with about 1 cup of the liquid from the chili. Process until relatively smooth and add to crockpot.

Add Aleppo pepper and jalapeno to crockpot.

Simmer on low for about 4 hours.

Let rest in refrigerator overnight.

Add precooked beans and cook on low another 4 hours. (I used about ½ of the precooked 1 pound of beans—add as much as you like. The entire package would not be too much.)

Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.

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