Let’s be clear, again: I’m from Canada. My ancestors are Slovaks and Italians and socialist Saskatchewan preachers. Chili is not a traditional part of my heritage. When I was younger, we’d eat chili, but from a can. I never had any idea that “real” chili was not permitted to include beans. I thought that was the key ingredient! And you know, considering that I’m still not from Texas and never will be, I figure I’m within my rights to continue considering chili as including beans.
This, however, does not include beans. It’s legit. It’s just meat, pureed chiles, and spices (well, and a few other agents of flavour as well), cooked for ages, and then served with sharp cheddar melted on top. And tortilla chips. It’s dark – like a deep chocolate brown – and the flavour is deep and rich and surprisingly sweet (well, maybe not surprisingly – it’s got chocolate in it, after all). I got the recipe from Globetrotter Diaries, and since that recipe calls for an amazing 4 pouds – 4 pounds! – of beef, I halved it and adjusted the cooking time a little bit accordingly. Turns out I shouldn’t have halved all the ingredients, though – I kept having to add more water, and using the full bottle of beer and the full cup of coffee could have reduced that while adding even more flavour, not that it was short on flavour to begin with. So that’s how I’m going to write it.
4 dried ancho chiles
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 dried chiles de arbol
1 chipotle in adobo
2 slices bacon
2 lbs beef chuck, cubed
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brewed coffee (the only opened package of coffee we had was egg nog flavoured, but fortunately this did not result in the chili tasting like egg nog… ew)
1 bottle of beer
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tablet Mexican hot chocolate – I used Abuelita, but apparently Moctezuma is also good
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp ketchup, which is apparently illegal because chili doesn’t contain tomatoes, but this recipe is for rebellious Texans who don’t care about your stupid rules! And also for me, who thinks tomatoes belong in chili.
Toast the chiles in a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes per side.
Turn the heat off and fill the pan up with water, or use enough to cover the chiles, if they don’t float.
Leave them there for 30 minutes while you do the other stuff.
In the big pot you’re going to use, and may I recommend an enameled cast iron pot of the Le Creuset type – you’re going to get a LOT of fond and it releases beautifully off the enameled surface – cook your bacon.
When it’s done, take it out to drain on paper towels, but leave the bacon grease in the pot.
Once it’s cool, crumble it into bits.
Brown the beef in batches, not crowding the pot, taking the done meat out and putting it aside.
Once all the beef is done, throw your onion in there and saute until translucent (which might be a little difficult to ascertain considering how brown the onions will get from all the meat juices).
Add the garlic and saute another couple minutes.
Then throw the beef and bacon back in, along with all the spices, the beer, the coffee, and a cup of water.
Bring to a boil.
Turn it down to a simmer.
Get your chiles and cut the stems off.
Throw them, along with the chipotle and half a cup of water, into a food processor, and get them as liquefied as possible.
Press the resultant goop through a sieve into the pot. This will also have the effect of keeping the seeds out, therefore making the chili less hot. You can keep them in if you want it hotter.
Leave the pot at a simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, adding more water if things are getting too dried out.
At this point, add in the chocolate, ketchup, and sugar and stir until the chocolate has dissolved.
Let it go for another half hour or so.
Serve with grated cheese and whatever else you like on chili. But seriously, try some before stirring anything into it, it’s really good.
See, I couldn’t take a picture before eating all but one piece of beef!