Photograph Copyright Sandra A. Gutierrez, 2010; All Rights Reserved
When it comes to the subject of chili, controversy abounds. Whether to make it with beans of without them is only the beginning. However, when the weather gets feisty I come up to the challenge.
To me, chili--the American beef stew--is meant to awaken the senses and enliven the palate. Suffice it to say that this is not a Latin dish. In case you were wondering you will find it in southwestern states and around the United States, but it just does not exist south of the border. I just thought to mention this because I often get flooded with questions from students who wonder why I don't include recipes for this delicious concoction in my roster of classes on Latin cuisine. Chili is as American as apple pie--the national dish of Texas (and I do love Texas!). It might not be Latin but it is delicioso nonetheless.
Regardless, chili is one of the best comfort foods there is, in my humble opinion. Just what I need on the rare days when a winter storm hits the southern state where I live. Snow is not a common sight in North Carolina and for that I am grateful. However fun watching beautiful, fluffy flakes descend from on high can be, the reality of slippery roads and closed businesses is enough to take the romance out of the equation.
But as many of you know, I am happy any time I can get lost in my kitchen. And early this morning, had you treked down your snowy driveway and up mine, you would have found me preparing a stick-to-your-ribs meal to help keep us warm throughout this impending cold weather. In fact, had you bravely ventured out of your warm home and dropped by to visit on this very snowy morning, I would have also welcomed you with a cup of hot Guatemalan coffee and some chile-spiked brownies...but that will be a subject of another post.
So here is my version of chili. Hot, steamy, spicy, and fiery. Consider yourself warned: unless you are a chili head (as am I), do not attempt this recipe. It's smokey, it's seriously spicy, and definitely not for the faint of palate. I serve it with corn bread, warm from my oven but it is equally delicious with tortilla chips. It makes a great topping for towers of nachos and for baked potatoes. It's a great addition to your menu for that Super Bowl party you're planning.
Just make sure to have lots of sour cream on hand...
Now tell me, are you a chili head like I am? What interesting ingredients to you add to your bowl o' red?
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. bulk Mexican chorizo
2 1/2 cups chopped onion (Vidalia or sweet, preferred)
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 large jalapeno slice paper thin (about 1/4 cup)*
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups beef broth
3 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans
3 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese
Pickled jalapenos (if you are a glutton for punishment)
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add ground chuck and chorizo and cook, making sure to break the meats with a wooden spoon, until the beef is nicely browned. Add the onion, celery, beel pepper, and jalapeno; cook, stirring ocassionally for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, ancho chile powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and stir for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and stir for 1 minute, making sure to scrape bottom of the pot well. Add the beans and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with garnishes.
Yield 8-10 servings.
Copyright Sandra A. Gutierrez, 2010; All Rights Reserved.