September 25th, 2014, 1:59 pm
* Kingman ** Kingman *
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This isn't gonna be terribly helpful to those of you from the Southwest and I'm sure many of you already learned this long, long ago...but there's just no better chili than that which you can make w/ leftover brisket (if there ever is any...) and your own chile puree or homemade chile powder. For those who are still using ground meat and store-bought chili powder, (which I made and ate for years and loved it) grinding your own peppers up will take your chili to an entirely different plane. I'm not planning to give away my entire recipe here--some things are sacred--but I just finished bowl #3 and felt the urge to share at least some of the basics...

The basics are really simple. I use a combo of anchos, guajillos, pasillas, chipotles, New Mexicos and Hatch chiles, typically. Each one adds a distinctive taste profile. If you've never used individual peppers before, I highly recommend getting some dried at your grocery or Mexican market, or even better, fresh, if you have access to them. About the only fresh peppers I can get in the Northeast are jalapenos, serranos and habaneros. If you get them fresh, heck you can even smoke them first before using! Assuming they're dried, take a few of each type and take the stems off, open (by slicing lengthwise with a sharp, thin paring knife) and remove seeds (if not using) and cut the flesh into a few strips that you can flatten out in a pan. Get a cast iron pan and warm, dry, to medium heat. Put a few pieces of the pepper down flat on the hot pan surface, using a spatula or other utensil to keep them flat against the pan for 1-2 minutes. The surface should not be burning and black, it should be a bit mottled in color. Flip and repeat on side 2 and then remove from pan. After doing this w/ the flesh of 2 or 3 peppers (or more, depending on usage), let them cool and then break them up a bit into smaller pieces with a mortar and pestle or put them directly into a spice grinder. Grind to desired consistency. By doing this with a bunch of different pepper types, you'll quickly start to appreciate the different flavors that each pepper contributes. Ultimately, you can then create your own "chile powder" (single or various peppers ground into pure powder) and/or "chili powder" (chile powder with cumin, garlic and other spices--comparable, though infinitely variable and infinitely better than store bought...)

For brisket chili, I remove stems and seeds from a combination of all of the above peppers (sorry, quantities not'll have to experiment), tear them into 2-3 pieces each and then rehydrate in an covered, 8 cup pyrex measuring container with about 6 cups of boiling water. Pour boiling water over peppers, cover and let steep for about 30 minutes so that you end up w/ pepper "tea." After 30 mins, remove peppers from water, reserving liquid "tea." (The "tea" is liquid gold...). Add peppers to a blender and combine with about 2 cups of the steeping liquid ("tea"), and other spices that you want in your chili, such as cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, etc... Blend until completely pureed. Set aside.

You can use whatever you want to lube the pan olive, or other oils. I like to saute a little bacon in the bottom of my braising pan. Once brown, I remove the bacon and use the rendered lard to cook onions until beginning to caramelize and then I like to add some butternut squash cubes (uncooked) and let them cook for a few as well. Once the butternut squash is as done as I like it (it should not be fully soft at this point...), I add a bottle of beer (I'm partial to Negro Modelo for this particular recipe, but let your imagination run wild here) to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that may be stuck to the pan bottom. If you don't want to use beer, use the rest of the pepper tea you made while rehydrating the peppers, or use both! Let the beer start to simmer and then add the pepper puree and stir to thoroughly incorporate. To that, I add fire roasted tomatoes and again thoroughly incorporate. Add cut up brisket, bacon bits and whatever else you like in your chili at that point, like beans, other peppers, spices, etc. I use any leftover pepper "tea" to get the chili to the thickness I want, noting that you will definitely lose some liquid during braising, so I'd make it a little bit runnier than you want it to end up before placing in oven or smoker. Once you have it all in there and at the desired thickness, bring the entire pot up to a good simmer (but not a hard boil!). Cover and place in an oven at about 275-300F. You want it to slowly simmer but never boil so you'll have to experiment with your own oven to see what the right braising temp is. Braise for about 2-3 hours, until butternut squash is soft all the way through. Alternatively, leave lid off and put in YS640 for 2-3 hours to get a smokier flavor.

Serve with sour cream (potentially jacked up w/ lime zest and a little lime juice), shredded cheese and scallions or diced onions as optional accompaniments.

Grab another bottle of your favorite frosty brew, some nachos and a bowl of liquid gold...repeat.


September 26th, 2014, 7:50 am
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  • Joined: April 18th, 2014, 3:12 pm
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Too bad you are so far away from me, as I would partake for sure.


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