Spring break is sadly over, but it was a fantastic two weeks filled with lots of cooking and baking. The freezer had to be cleaned to make room for food I froze for the upcoming quarter. One thing I made was a big batch of chili since it keeps so well, perfect for when we need emergency sustenance.
I haven’t upgraded to making homemade chili powder from whole peppers because I have this giant container of chili powder I got from Costco years ago. I know, I know you’re supposed to throw away spices after 1 year but I can’t bear to do it! It’s still good, I swear! *Note to self*: no more buying spices at Costco even if it’s dirt cheap unless I plan on having it for decades. I probably won’t be making my own chili powder even after I use this stuff up because I’m just too lazy. To make my ancient chili powder more flavorful, I spike the chili with chipotle chilies, extra cumin and oregano. This time I thought I’d make my regular chili a little more interesting. Instead of using ground beef, I used a chuck roast that I cut into small pieces. I was trying to make it more authentic but all attempts at authenticity were moot after I added beans. Oh well, I can’t help it; I kinda like chili with beans, not too much, just a little. I also added some secret-but-not-so-secret-because-everyone-knows-about-them ingredients: coffee and chocolate. I opted not to add peanut butter and/or banana (I'm not that adventurous). Finally, after simmering for 2 hours, Steven and I added some of our favorite chili accompaniments, sour cream, cheese, and Fritos!
2 pounds chopped chuck cut into half inch cubes or lean ground beef
1 large onion
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp whole cumin
2 – 3 chipotle chilies in adobo, minced (use less chilies and remove the seeds for a milder chili)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp adobo sauce from chipotle chilies
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1 large red bell pepper
1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 28 oz can of dark red kidney beans
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
Serve with optional condiments: lime, shredded cheese, sour cream, corn chips
Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Brown the beef in batches, first add 1/3 of the beef and cook until browned. Take out the beef and set aside in a large bowl. If a lot of browned bits have accumulated on the bottom of the pan, add some water to scrape those up and pour this flavorful liquid over the browned beef that you set aside. Add some more oil and repeat the browning process with the rest of the beef.
After all of the beef has been browned, add some water and scrape off any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot and pour the liquid into the bowl with the beef.
Add 2 teaspoons of oil and add the onions and a large pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add the cumin and chili powder and toast the spices until they are fragrant. Add the minced chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato paste, garlic, and lots of freshly ground pepper until the garlic is fragrant. Add the bell peppers, can of tomatoes, oregano, browned beef and juices, cocoa powder, espresso powder. Simmer this mixture for 1 hour with the lid slightly ajar. While it’s simmering, add cayenne to taste and salt, keeping in mind the chili will continue to reduce. If the chili gets too dry, add some water. Then add the beans and simmer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beef is tender.