It may be the beginning of March, but Wisconsin is scheduled to get hit again with another decent storm. While my area is only supposed to get 2-3 inches, some parts of the state are expecting upwards of 8-10. Ultimately, that means we could see anything from 0-12 inches. That's Wisconsin for you. And since we are supposed to get a good snow, I figured I'd make another batch of Chili to get us through.
I have a number of recipes for chili, each distinct from the others in various ways. Some contain beer, others contain whiskey, while others do without any form of alcohol. Most contain tomatoes and beans though a few do not. Some are thickened with corn tortillas or masa harina, while others are thinner and more soup like. Another thing I like to do is add both dried and fresh chiles to my chili as I feel it gives a more complex flavor to the heat. I rarely make the same kind twice in a row and allow my whims to dictate how the chili will turn out. In fact, I hate to say that I have a number or “recipes” for chili, as they are more of a general guideline, that I follow, than anything else.
Yes, I know that last paragraph contained two ingredients that make any chili purist shudder; tomatoes and beans. Okay, I understand, “traditional” chili does not contain these 2 ingredients, but I never claimed that what I make is a historically accurate rendition of the true “chili con carne,” containing only meat, chiles, onions, seasonings, and water. I’m fine with the addition of tomatoes and beans to my chili, but I do draw the line at the addition of pasta, especially spaghetti. Chili with pasta seems to a favorite up here in Wisconsin, but I just don’t understand it, nor do I want to. It’s just wrong!
The recipe I offer up today is a pretty straight forward chili without a lot of complicating flavors, and while it does contain tomatoes and beans, I think that good Texan would still find it comforting and tasty.
3-4 each Dried Guajillo peppers
2 cups Water
4 pounds Beef, rump roast, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 each Onions, large, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2-6 each Jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped (the amount depends on how hot you like your chili)
1 can (6oz.) Tomato paste
2 cans (14.5oz. each) Diced or Chopped Tomatoes
1 cup Water
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 tsp. Chili powder
2 cans (15.5oz. each) Kidney Beans, drained
Roughly tear up the guajillo peppers, discarding the seeds. Place in a pot with the 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand, at least, 10 minutes longer. Meanwhile season the meat with salt and pepper and in a large pot brown it, in oil, over high heat. This will need to be done in at least 4-5 batches so as to not cool down the pan too much by overcrowding. This is one of the most important steps that most people fail at when making any kind of stew (which chili essentially is) or braised dish. Take the time to get a nice dark sear on the meat.
Remove each batch of meat from pan as it browns and give the pan a minute to heat up again before adding the next batch. After all the meat is done add the onions, garlic and jalapenos to the pan and saute until the onions start to wilt, scraping up any of the meat juices that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile puree the guajillos and water in a blender until smooth. Add the pepper puree to the onions and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the can of tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Add the 1 cup of water along with the diced tomatoes and stir until the tomato paste dissolves into the liquid. Add the spices.
Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure the chili doesn’t burn. After 2 hours, add the kidney beans, cover again and simmer 30 minutes longer. Once the 30 minutes are up remove the cover and allow to continue to cook until the meat is tender and you have achieved the desired consistency. I like this chili rather thick so I let the liquid reduce down considerably. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve as you like. Personally, I like mine with a side of tortilla chips, though my wife likes to top hers with minced onions, sour cream and shredded cheese.