Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Red & Black Chili

As most parts of the country are experiencing freezing temps right now, what better time for a hot chili recipe? I've been trying out some new recipes, and we have a couple winners - one of which is Rachel Ray's Touchdown Chili. I've changed a few ingredients and coined it Red & Black Chili - red for the chiles, black for the Negra Modelo beer.

I'm not sure what the rules are about sharing other people's recipe ideas on the internet, so I want to be sure to give credit where credit is due. I found Rachel Ray's chili recipe in her latest book My Year In Meals, which I happened upon at the library.

Side note: Our local librarians are really good at creating New-Non-Fiction book displays. I'm constantly catching my eye on something interesting there.

In this book, Rachel documents many, many of the meals she made over the course of an entire year. The book is divided into months, with pictures and notes from Rachel. If you flip the book over, her husband has added My Year in Cocktails, which includes lots of fancy cocktail recipes for the aficionado.

This is not a traditional cookbook, with easy-to-find recipes. You just have to browse through and see what looks good.

The chili caught my eye because it was a chilly day...   Bu-dum--ching!

One of the things that makes this recipe great is that it's easy to make substitutions where needed/wanted. Here is the recipe as I make it (just slightly different from Rachel's original recipe):

Red & Black Chili 
(adapted from Rachel Ray's Touchdown Chili in My Year in Meals)
(Serves 6)


3 dried Anaheim peppers (sometimes labeled as Mild New Mexico chiles), stemmed and seeded

2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 cups beef stock

1/3 pound good-quality bacon, finely chopped (or 1/2 pound fresh Mexican chorizo, if you can find it, casings removed - it's better with the chorizo, so take the time to search for it)

1 TB extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds good-quality ground beef

Coarse salt and coarse black pepper

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 fresh jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

1 TB ground cumin or whole cumin seeds

1 TB ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (depending on how 'warm' you want your chili to taste)

1 (12-oz) bottle Negro Modelo beer

1 TB honey

3 TB masa harina or (finely ground cornmeal)

Optional Chili Toppings: cilantro, lime wedges, minced onions, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), grated cheese, sliced pickled jalapenos, sour cream, tortilla/corn chips or soft tortillas


1. Place the dried chiles in a pot and cover with the stock. Bring to a low boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until the chiles are soft, then puree the chiles and liquid. (If you want to make this a one-pot meal, do this in your Dutch oven then start the chili once you've transferred the chiles and stock to the blender and wiped out your pot.)

Chiles and beef stock being pureed

2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Add the bacon or chorizo and begin to render.

Pat the ground beef dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and develop a nice brown on the beef. Break up the meat as it cooks.

3. Add the Worcestershire, onion, garlic, fresh jalapeño, oregano, cumin, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon. Cook until the onion is soft; deglaze the pan with the beer.

Not pictured: Chopped garlic, because I forgot it this time.
Here's a little flavor tip: Don't forget the garlic!

4. Stir in the chile puree, honey, and masa harina/corn meal; reduce the heat and simmer 45 minutes over low heat to thicken and develop the flavors.

While the chili is simmering, have a beer and wash the very few dishes you've used:

5. And when that timer goes *ding!*, bowl it up and serve with the toppings of your choice! We like cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortillas or tortilla chips.

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