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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chili cookoff!

MJ Harnish over at Gaming Brouhaha wrote a thoughtful post about food and gaming with which I cannot disagree. Food has always been part of my gaming experience and I've been lucky enough to game with a group that includes some really talented amateur chefs. Whether it's the fresh fajitas, BBQ showdown, giant breakfast of doom, or just a few snacks at the table, food is an integral part of the game. He also posted a chili recipe. I can't let that pass without a counter. Who puts cinnamon in chili?It's on. This makes a big pot. Takes about 3 hours. Make a day ahead and allow flavors to blend overnight.
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion coarse chopped
  • 2-3 semi-mild peppers poblano (best), anaheim or cubanelle, seeds removed, coarse chopped
  • 1 lb. ground chuck (80% lean, ground for chili if you can find it)
  • PLUS
  • 2-3 andouille sausage, skins removed and cut into small chunks
  • OR
  • 2-3 chorizo sausage, skins removed and cut into small chunks
  • OR
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 12 oz beer (dark is better, any will do)
  • 30 oz can tomato sauce
  • 30 oz can tomatoes, diced or whole
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 Tbs chili powder (at least)
  • 1 Tbs cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 hot peppers, jalapeno or serrano (hotter), seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 3 15 oz cans of beans (black or pinto) OR
  • 2 cups dried beans, properly soaked

  • Reserve 1 Tbs chili powder, 1/2 Tbs cumin powder.
  • In a large pot heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Saute half the onion and half the semi-mild peppers, stirring often, until onions are golden brown. Reduce heat if needed to avoid scorching peppers.
  • Add beef and sausage or pork to mix and brown. Stirring often.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add remaining onion and semi-mild peppers, beer, tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, spices, hot peppers. If using soaked dried beans, add now. Wait an hour if using canned. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, then add beans if using canned. Stir occasionally. 
  • Simmer 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (typically need a touch more chili powder, black pepper). Continue to simmer until beans are done. 
  • 10 minutes before done, add reserved chili powder and cumin to brighten flavor. Serve immediately or cool and store in fridge for 24 hours, then reheat and serve. 

Note: Drain and rinse canned beans before use. If using dried beans drain and rinse after soaking. Dried beans are generally a little firmer than canned. Can you do better?
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