Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hot stuff for a hot day

It's getting warmer, but that doesn't stop me from eating or wanting some good chili. I've had some fabulous ones over the years--a "Yankee" version that was cooked by a guy named Robert E. Lee, a vegan six-bean that was incredibly hot, Austin the minimalist housemate's version with tomato sauce, and much more.

As is becoming more and more frequent with me with recipes, I do a little research, learn a lot then design my own. The basics for me start with:
2 pounds of stew meat I am not found of ground beef. There are situations where I'll eat it, but it's not my favorite thing. Stew meat works well. Cutting it into smaller pieces is optional
2 cans of black beans  I love black beans and the flavor they bring to chili.
4 cans tomatoes and green chiles Rotel is my favorite brand here. There are others. Be careful when you shop or you may end up adding oregano and basil.
2 bottles or cans of Guinness If you've ever had beef & Guinness stew at a good Irish pub, you know how rich and delicious beef and Guinness are together. I like to bring that richness to my chili.
2 Tbsp vinegar this is to accentuate the flavor of the black beans. It doesn't give you a strong vinegar taste. 
1 large white onion large in this case, is about the size of a softball. Two smaller ones the size of your average orange will do just as well
2 tomatillos when I chose to add these to my first batch of chili, it was purely on impulse. They just seemed to go well in my head with all the other ingredients I was envisioning. 
1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate Ghiardelli's dark chocolate squares work well here, as do Lindt's Chili chocolate.
2 heaping tablespoons chili powder
2 heaping tablespoons cumin  To me, chili isn't chili without a strong taste of cumin. This proportion works well for me.

Last time I made this recipe, I pulverized a dried habanero (including the seeds) until it was dust. While not as hot as a scotch bonnet, it did the trick and this was a nice spicy batch.

I brown the meat in a little light oil (vegetable, canola), sometimes with about five cloves of garlic (if I do that, I chop another three to throw in the chili). Once that's done, I drain it and add it to either the crockpot or the dutch oven. If using a dutch oven, I start it on medium. The crockpot, I start on high.

Add the remainder of the ingredients, stirring well to blend.  Stir in your spices.
If using a Dutch oven, bring it to a boil, before turning it down to simmer for several hours (I prefer overnight). If using a crockpot, bring to low and cover.

Stir these occasionally. When you get up in the morning, stir and leave the top off for the last hour or so to let it thicken even more.

Serve in your favorite fashion. Myself, I like it over spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream. I won't say no to some crusty bread either. Austin the minimalist breaks up corn muffins into his, some folks go for rice.

How do you like your chili?


  1. Dark chocolate? That's a neat and surprising twist. Got any good recipes for that Aztec(?) type chili cocoa?
    - da KOI

  2. Since you put chocolate in yours, I am surprised you don't put in cinnamon and a bit of cayenne too. They go well with the tomatillos too. It's hard to find decent tomatillos here, I'd up the number of tomatillos too.

  3. Koi--don't have one for cocoa yet, but coming up in the next few weeks, I will have Mexican chocolate cookies!