30 October 2010

Chili. Hot stuff for cold days.

Chili. I guess there is not much to say. Of course, there are different beliefs: beans or no beans, ground meat or pieces, vegetables or no vegetables. This may sound totally crazy, but I like all kinds of chili. But depending on my mood, I sometimes prefer one variation over the other.

What's really much more important: the spices and liquids you add. And in my case, it's whiskey (with a nice amount of peat), red wine and dark ale. Fresh and dried chilies are a must.


1 kg / 2 pounds beef (from the round)
100 g / 3,5 oz bacon
1/4 cup lard or olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped (2 cups)
3 carrots, diced (2 cups)
100 g / 3.5 oz tomato paste
1/4 cup whiskey
1 cup red wine
1 cup dark ale
1 can peeled tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1-5 fresh chilies, eg 1 habanero, 1 jalapeno, 1 Thai chili
3 tablespoons chili tequila
1 teaspoon dried chili
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
1 can kidney beans, drained (optional)
1 lemon, just the juice, to taste

To serve:
cheddar cheese, shredded
spring onions, cut into thin slices
sour cream

Cut the meat into the size you like for a chili - anything between 1-inch cubes and mincing it. Then peel and cut the onions and carrots into large dice.

I like to start with the bacon, getting it brown and rendering the fat. When it is nice and crunchy, get it out and put it into a bowl.

Then add the lard or oil, let it get hot and start sauteing the onions and carrots. When the edges start to get brown, also get them out into a bowl.

Get your stove to medium-high and let it get really hot for some minutes. Don't dump all the meat in - better start with just a few handfuls. Just let it brown for a couple of minutes, then start stirring it around. When all the sides of the meat are brown, add the next few handfuls. And so on until all the meat is in the pot and browned nicely.

OK, now the bacon and the vegetables go back in, and also the tomato paste. Add the whiskey, stir and scrape the bottom until nearly all is evaporated. Then add the wine and the beer - and top it off with water (or even some coffee you have still standing around).

Next add the can of tomatoes. Don't worry if it looks like too much liquid, most of it will cook off anyway.

Time for some heat: Add the chilies - either whole or cut into pieces. I like to buy big bunches of fresh chilies and preserve them in alcohol.

Just cut away the green stuff, fill them in a glass jar and top it off with your favorite 40%-spirit. I like to use either Sherry, Cognac or Tequila. Keeps nearly endlessly and is a great addition for all kinds of tomato-based meals.

Add the rest of the spices and let it cook on very low for around 2 hours. Or longer, if you have the time.

Serve with spring onions, shredded cheese, crème fraîche and a nice toasty bread. Not to forget: a nice glass of cold beer to kill the heat.


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