Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spicy Chili

I enjoy making chili. For relatively little effort, it offers great rewards.

I seldom use the same recipe twice. I don't use a recipe at all, actually, I just toss ingredients into the pot, tasting frequently, until the flavor profile matches the one I keep filed away among the other junk cluttering my brain. So no matter what I put in my chili, it tastes pretty consistent from batch to batch - meaty, tomatoey, somewhat sweet, and only barely spicy. This time, I thought I'd try something completely different.

OK, maybe not completely.

Uncharacteristically, I used a bunch of dried whole chiles. I removed most of the seeds after soaking them, and I'm glad I did because their fumes nearly choked me in the process. I like spicy stuff, but I don't want my mouth (or any other body part) to burn. I also wanted the chili to have a predominant smoky flavor, so I used chipotles, fire roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, and even a little smoked salt at the end to finish it.

It was darn tasty, and a perfect accompaniment to a Ravens victory.

Spicy Smoky Chili

3 dried ancho chiles
3 dried chipotle chiles
3 lbs beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup prepared molé sauce (I used the molé from my chicken nachos)
2 15oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
Soak dried chiles in boiling water until they are pliable. Remove stems (and seeds, if desired). Chop peppers in a food processor with a bit of beef broth until they become a chunky purée. Set aside.

In a dutch oven, brown meat in batches. Remove meat and add onions and a pinch of salt. Stir well to pick up any browned bits from the meat. If there doesn't seem to be enough fat, add a dribble of olive oil. Cook onions over medium heat until they are beginning to brown.  Stir in cumin and coriander.

Add meat back to pan along with garlic, combining well. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add molé, pepper purée, tomatoes, and beef broth. Bring to a boil. When mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer for about 3 hours, or until beef is very tender.

Serve with your favorite chili condiments (cheese, onions, cilantro, sour cream) and tortilla chips.

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.