Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chili


Before I came to the US, I didn't know much about a great Chili. For me it was ground meat, some beans and tomatoes. I didn't know that you could buy different kind of dried chillis, toast them in a pan, make a chili paste out of them with onions and Jalapeno peppers and combine them with pieces of meat. When I tried all of this, I ended up with a completely different dish from what I had made before.
This chili takes some time to prepare but is absolutely worth it. Not that I won't consider going back to the old and easy version, but I would definitely recommend this one if you have more time on your hand. 

Chili

(from Cooks Illustrated)

SERVES 6 TO 8

A 4-pound chuck-eye roast, well trimmed of fat, can be substituted for the steak. Because much of the chili flavor is held in the fat of this dish, refrain from skimming fat from the surface. Wear gloves when working with both dried and fresh chiles. Dried New Mexican or guajillo chiles make a good substitute for the anchos; each dried árbol may be substituted with 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. If you prefer not to work with any whole dried chiles, the anchos and árbols can be replaced with 1/2 cup commercial chili powder and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, though the texture of the chili will be slightly compromised. Good choices for condiments include diced avocado, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. The chili can be made up to 3 days in advance.

INGREDIENTS

Table salt
1/2pound dried pinto beans (about 1 cup), rinsed and picked over
6dried ancho chiles (about 1 3/4 ounces), stems and seeds removed, and flesh torn into 1-inch pieces (see note)
2-4dried árbol chiles , stems removed, pods split, and seeds removed (see note)
3tablespoons cornmeal
2teaspoons dried oregano
2teaspoons ground cumin
2teaspoons cocoa powder
2 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth
2medium onions , cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3small jalapeño chiles , stems and seeds removed and discarded, and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3tablespoons vegetable oil
4medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1(14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2teaspoons light molasses
3 1/2pounds blade steak , 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (see note)
1(12-ounce) bottle mild-flavored lager , such as Budweiser

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Combine 3 tablespoons salt, 4 quarts water, and beans in large Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse well.
  2. 2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Place ancho chiles in 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat; toast, stirring frequently, until flesh is fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, reducing heat if chiles begin to smoke. Transfer to bowl of food processor and cool. Do not wash out skillet.
  3. 3. Add árbol chiles, cornmeal, oregano, cumin, cocoa, and ½ teaspoon salt to food processor with toasted ancho chiles; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, very slowly add ½ cup broth until smooth paste forms, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer paste to small bowl. Place onions in now-empty processor bowl and pulse until roughly chopped, about four 1-second pulses. Add jalapeños and pulse until consistency of chunky salsa, about four 1-second pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary.
  4. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated and vegetables are softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili paste, tomatoes, and molasses; stir until chili paste is thoroughly combined. Add remaining 2 cups broth and drained beans; bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  5. 5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Add half of beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to Dutch oven. Add ½ bottle lager to skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Transfer lager to Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil, steak, and lager. Once last addition of lager has been added to Dutch oven, stir to combine and return mixture to simmer.
  6. 6. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until meat and beans are fully tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Let chili stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir well and season to taste with salt before serving.

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