Monday, April 25, 2016

Chile Chili

A few weeks ago, I realized that the entire winter had gone by without my making a batch of beef chili. While it is Spring (believe it or not), and chili might be thought of as cold weather food, cooking it up is a snap and it tastes fine all year long.

My preferred method of making chili involves chunks of beef, canned tomatoes, and no beans. This time, I went the opposite direction by using ground beef, no tomatoes (at least not many), and a can of black beans. Why? Because sometimes we need change in our lives. Change is good.

Beef and Black Bean Chili

4 New Mexico chiles
2.5 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 chipotles en adobo, mashed
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, ground or 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 bottle beer of your choice (not too hoppy)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tomatoes, diced (optional)
Lime Juice
Additional spices for re-seasoning
Grated cheese
Scallions or spring onions for garnish

Put the chiles and 1 1/2 cups water in a large glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside. If the chiles aren't submerged, put a small plate over to keep them under the water.

Cook the ground beef in a dutch oven, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown. Drain any accumulated fat, then add the onions to the beef in the pot. Cook, covered, 5-6 minutes until onions soften. Combine the next 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Once onions have softened, stir in the spices and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the garlic, then add the tomato paste, chipotles, and cacao or cocoa.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles put them in a food processor or blender with enough of the soaking liquid to make a puree. Add to the pot, along with the beer and the strained soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

Cook, covered, for at least one hour, or until ground beef is tender. Add the beans and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add sriracha, lime juice, and salt to taste.

Sometimes, when a dish like chili has been cooking for a long time, it needs a bit of re-seasoning. Add pinches more of cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika to taste.

Leftovers taste great on a hot dog.

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