Sunday, January 14, 2007

Two Hundred Dollar Chili

Yeah, second year in a row the Charger's season came down to the leg of their kicker and the second year in a row they went home. Of course, the defense totally folded in the fourth quarter. They started throwing the ball and quit handing off to LT, a whole bunch of reasons that all had the result of me losing $200. On top of that I had to make dinner AND just got finished doing the dishes. It was, all in all, a great day. Good games, good friends, good food, friendly wagers, what the hell? I had a great time.

As requested by friend blackdog, here's the chili recipe. I won't bother with the cornbread because I use the recipe on the side of the box. Except when I use my bread machine, then I use the recipe that came with the machine.

The biggest difference maker you can do with chili con carne, is to make your own damn chili powder. The stuff that's been sitting on a shelf in your pantry for gawd knows how long is crap. Throw it out now. Never buy the stuff in a can again. Just do it. You'll thank me as soon as you've used this stuff once.


3 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 cascabel chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 dried arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (the best stuff comes from Spain)

p.s. you can substitute any dried whole chilis you want for this. Chipotles are smoked and dried whole jalapenos and they will ad both extra heat and a nice smokey tinge.

Put the chilis and cumin into a cast iron (or non-stick) pan over a medium-high flame. Cook, while agitating or moving around with a wooden spoon until you smell the cumin toasting. That should be four or five minutes. Which is enough time for New England to score almost 11 unanswered points. Bastards. Remove from the heat and the pan and allow to cool completely.

Once the chilis have cooled off to the point of San Diego's secondary in the fourth quarter (that's really below room temperature, so let it go at room temp). Put all the ingredients into a blender and run it on annihilate until a fine, dusty powder forms. Be sure to let the powder settle for at least a minute before you open the lid and put into an airtight container. (I use an old jar) This will stay volatile and good for around six months. You cannot increase the shelf life by refrigerating it. If it's chilled it will condense and get more moisture than you want and it will get all lumpy and nasty. Like San Diego's blocking schemes.

Now that you have the chili powder ready, you're all set to go.

Now comes the chili part. This is a very basic, very good, honest chili con carne. There's a whole big debate about whether or not to have beans in it and still call it chili. I leave that whole issues to people who actually give a rat's ass. I don't. If I'm in a bean mood, I put in beans. If I'm not, I leave them out. It's your chili, do what you want.


3 pounds stew meat (any red meat, or combination of meats will do just fine)
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer, preferably a medium ale (this helps control bitterness)
1 (16-ounce) container salsa (whatever's on sale)
tortilla chips, crumbled (bottom of the bag stuff works great for this)
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Put the meat in a large mixing bowl and toss it with the oil and the salt. Set aside for a little while (about as long as it takes you to hunt down your wallet to pay off the foolish bet you made on the damn football game).

Using a 6 quart pressure cooker over a high flame, brown the meat in batches until brown evenly all around. About two to three minutes. When the meat is browned put it into a bowl that is lined with paper towels to drain.

When the meat is all browned use the beer in the cooker to deglaze the pot. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the meat back to the pressure cooker along with the salsa, tortilla chips, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, and ground cumin and stir to combine. Lock the lid in place. When the steam begins to hiss out of the cooker, reduce the heat to low, just enough to maintain a very weak whistle. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully release the steam. Serve immediately. If you talked any shit about your team, this is a far, far, finer dish than crow.

Wait'll next year. (which means I'll probably lose more money)



Blogger FriĆ°vin said...

We grind up our own chiles also. Best damn stuff on the planet.

In fact, with ice and 26 degrees currently, I'm about ready to fire up the oven and get something baking!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Maggie Rosethorn said...

Y'know, Minstrel Boy, if you put all the recipes you've put on the blogsite in a little paperback book, I'd love to buy several, one for me an a bunch to give my friends and family. Every time you post a recipe my mouth waters. (Or just group all the recipes on one area of your website and I'll print them off from there. I just love a man who cooks like what am I doing married to a meat and potatoes guy? Dunno...)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I hear that a little dark chocolate adds a back note that can't be beat. Mom lost the cap ring from the pressure cooker this week, I've searched and can't find it, I'm lost without my pc. She forgets things since the stroke but the truffles really helped. It was one of the few moments of happiness was watching her smear that truffle all over herself trying to get it into her mouth. And she did. Thank you so much. I just couldn't bring myself to be funny for a few weeks, but I;m getting better.

I gave up betting on football before I ever started. I haven't watched a game since the last time the Bills through the Super Bowl. Four, fucking years in a row. Not that I have any feelings on the matter.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear that a little dark chocolate adds a back note that can't be beat.

It does! Cocoa powder will accomplish the same thing. I suspect a bit of instant espresso would work, too.

- oddjob

12:39 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

cocoa powder or, if available in your area, a good quality molé can all do wonderful things to chili. i was reeling from the suddeness of my team's collapse and didn't go into the variations and riffs that can be played off of this base.

9:09 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

maggie, you are not the first person to ask about that. it started because i am a distractable lazy git who never took the time to categorize his posts. you're right i should. i will, i promise.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

So being from Boston, I was pretty happy. Your analysis of what went wring for SD is right on target.

My specialty is clam chowder. Probably not too many fresh chopped clams in AZ, I bet.

7:25 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

we get some pretty decent clams and oysters up from the gulf of california. but, nothing like the quahogs of boston. i hope brady and company kick payton's ass. although it will be very strange watching adam "the dream crusher" vinateri wearing horseshoes on his helmet for that game.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That decision not to negotiate a new contract with Adam just might come back to haunt them. According to the Globe that was totally the Management's decision, not Adam's.

- oddjob

10:12 AM  

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