Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Chili of Much Quantity

So, the big secret here is all technique. Most chili recipes involve browning the meat ahead of time. Bah! You don't have to do that. I learned this technique from a Kroll (who swore that this was how they made it in the landmark Green Bay restaurant) and it seemed sketchy at times, and looks disgusting if you make this with ground beef (as the original Kroll's chili recipe requires) but trust me, it creates this thick kind of gravy chili that is amazing.

My friend Mark is asking for chili recipes and rather than typing it all up and send it only to him, I'm typing it up here and then sending him the link. Tricksy!

2-3 lbs beef stew meat or tenderloin tips ($$$)
3 cans black beans, red beans, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, whatever you want (drained)
12 ounces tomato juice
2 quarts water or beef stock
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 T onion powder
2 T cumin
2 dried chipotle peppers* OR a canned chipotle in adobo sauce
2 T chili con carne powder*
2 T dried cilantro
2 T dried parsley
1 T dutch cocoa powder
The juice of half a lemon (to taste, might be less)
Salt and pepper to taste (probably at least 2 T of salt, but it depends on how salty your beans, stock and tomato juice are)

Dump the meat, garlic, onion powder, chipotle peppers and cumin into a pot with the water or stock. Cook on medium heat, covered, until you come back and the water is now looking more like soup than water (like, the meat is totally cooked, bits of meat are floating around in the water, it's starting to smell good, etc). At this point, you're going to get worried and start thinking that I tricked you into making beef stew. In fact, if people walk by and ask what you're making, they'll do the little skeptical eyebrow-raise when you tell them that it's chili. Persevere! Dump in the drained beans. I like two cans of black beans and one can of red beans, because I'm not a fan of kidney beans, but you do what you want. Dump in the tomato juice and chili con carne powder. See, I told you it would start looking like chili!

Now, let this simmer until the meat starts falling apart, probably at least an hour, but it depends on which cut of beef was used for the stew meat. When the meat is as tender as you want it and you're just about to eat, you can add the cilantro, cocoa, parsley and lemon juice. I usually stand there with a spoon and add the lemon juice bit by bit, tasting each time, because this can get away from you if you're not careful. If this scares you, it's certainly not required, but then skip the cocoa powder too, the lemon juice is there to bring the acid back up after basing it out with the cocoa powder. The cocoa powder brings a kind of earthly full-bodied mouthfeel to the chili, and without it, you'll still have good chili. Just not AMAZING chili.

Also, I hope you like chili because you're going to be eating it for about a week with this recipe. Of course, you could cut everything in half if you wanted too.

*You can get these at the Spice House or Penszey's.

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