Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Today was actually supposed to be meat loaf, but my grinder is missing a part, and I'm sure getting that replaced will be an insufferable ordeal. So, plan B was using an eye of round roast for...chili!

I love cooking traditions, and usually prefer to be historically accurate when possible. However, I'll concede to flavor and appearance. Hence, there is tomato and beans in this chili ("real" chili is basically onions, beef or pork (depending on what you read), roasted ground chilies and some other spices).

If you can stand to wait, make the chili on the day before you actually plan to eat it. Leaving it overnight in the fridge does magical things with the smoothness and depth of flavor. Also, when you think it's "done" taste it first...if the garlic is too sharp, simmer it for another 15-30 minutes and taste again.


2 lbs. cubed beef or pork
salt and pepper, per taste
2 tablespoons neutral oil (I used canola as per usual)
4 large onions, roughly chopped
1 bulb (yes, bulb) garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans (red kidney beans are for the weak)
1/2 liter beef stock
1/2 cup good quality chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup oregano
1 tsp. cayanne pepper, or 2-3 diced jalapeno peppers (both to taste)
flour or cornstarch for thickening as needed

1. Heat oil in large dutch oven until just smoking, and in BATCHES sear and brown the beef cubes, setting aside each batch before the next. Once all the beef is set aside, reduce heat to medium and add the onions and garlic. And a bit of water if needed, and scrape up all the flavor from the bottom of the pot. Cook 10 minutes or so until softened.

2. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and beef stock. Also return beef cubes to the pot (any juices from the meat cubes, that goes in too). Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or so.

3. Add all spices, re-cover, and simmer for 30 minutes longer*. Taste for the garlic intensity (see above). Also, beef cubes should be fork-tender before serving (tough? simmer longer). Thicken as needed with the flour or cornstarch (mix with cold water first. Too thick? Add a little more beef stock). Serve. Garnish with a pinch of chedder cheese, or a small spoonful of sour cream if you like.

* if you're using a very inexpensive, nasty, grisly cut of beef (and you really should be, and I usually do for chili), this low simmer can be 6-8 hours long. A slow cooker works great here.

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