Monday, March 7, 2011

Chile con Carne

I have a very bad habit of not taking pictures of food I make when a) I host a party or b) make something delicious.  It's like I have this premonition the food will be amazing, and therefore for some stupid reason I should NOT capture it in a picture.  C'est la vie, I guess.

I made this tasty concoction for the Super Bowl a while back, and it turned out really well.  I'm into braising right now, and I need to get it out of my system before spring rolls around.  I also decided to make two types of chili for the big game, red and white (no blue though, that's just weird).  This recipe popped up in a recent issue of Bon Appetit and sounded delicious.

A few notes on it before the recipe.  It calls for ground ancho chiles, which is NOT chile powder.  If you cannot find the ground chile form in your local Mexican market, buy the whole dried chile, remove the stems and seeds, and ground in your food processor.  I prefer this method because it enables you to add a bit more heat in the form of a guajillo chile to the mix.

Chili con Carne (adapted from Bon Appetit)

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 pounds beef stew meat (or chuck roast cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 head of garlic (about 15 cloves), peeled, chopped
1/2 cup ground ancho chiles
1 ground guajillo chile
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 12-ounce bottle dark beer
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons coarse corn meal
1 teaspoon chile powder
kosher salt
Garnishes- coarsely grated cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, fresh tomatoes, or sour cream

To grind the chiles, place 3-4 dried ancho chiles and a dried guajillo chile in a food processor and blend until chopped fine, 1-2 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Salt the beef and add 1/3 to the pant. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate lined with paper towl. Repeat with 2 tablespoons oil and beef.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add onions and sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add ground chiles, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beer and stir 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Return beef to pot. Add tomatoes (with juice), 2 1/2 cups water, oregano, and a tablespoon kosher salt. Bring chili to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer gently until beef is just fork tender, about 2 hours. Cool 1 hour, then chill uncovered until cold. Cover; chill overnight.

Spoon fat from chili (there will probably not be much). Bring chili to simmer over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste. Sprinkle corn meal and stir, simmer uncovered until thickened and beef is very tender, stirring often, and adding more water if too thick, about 30 minutes.  Season with 1 teaspoon chile powder, salt, and pepper. Serve with garnishes.