December 10, 2007

Chili Con Carne!! Ole!!!

This recipe is gold! Chili Con Carne is meat, chilis, spices and herbs. It has a nice, thick meaty gravy. It is out of this world!

3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
4 Mexican Pasilla Chilies (dried), toasted and ground
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
7 1/2 cups water, divided
1 beef chuck roast (4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons table salt, plus extra for seasoning
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, minced
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
5 jalapeno chilies, cored, seeded and minced
1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned)
Juice of 1 medium lime
5 tablespoons corn flour (masa harina)
Ground black pepper

I used ancho chili powder and then made the Mexican chili powder by toasting 5 dried pasilla chilies for 6 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool for a few minutes. Remove the stems and seeds from the pods, rip them into pieces and put in a spice grinder (See above- I used a coffee grinder) until powdery, 30 to 45 seconds. Wait until you smell this!! Fresh chili powder- amazing.

Mix chili powders, cumin and oregano in a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste; set aside. Toss beef cubes with salt; set aside.

Fry bacon in large, heavy kettle or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 15 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons of fat from pot into bowl, set aside.

Increase heat to medium-high; saute meat in four batches until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot as necessary.

Reduce heat to medium, add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan. Add onion; saute until softened, 5-6 minutes.

Add garlic and jalepeno; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chili paste; saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes, lime juice and 7 cups water; bring to simmer.

Continue to cook at a steady simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich and starting to thicken. Recipe says for 2 hours, but mine took 2 1/2 hours.

Mix corn flour with 2/3 cup water in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Should be loose in consistency. Increase heat to medium and stir in paste a little bit at a time. Simmer until thickened, 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Serve now or cool slightly, cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days.

This is what it looks like when it's finished. Suffice it to say that you will be delighted at the results. The meat gets so tender that most of it shreds, and the sauce is so rich and thick, you will think you have died and gone to heaven! It is just spicy enough, but not spicy enough to scare off your friends who like bland food. It is easier to add spice than to take it away. I will serve it with chopped onion, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, Texas Pete's Hot Sauce guessed it... Fritos.

I hate to be dramatic (okay, maybe that's not true), but you have never tried chili until you have tried this. I'll never let another bean touch my chili. I might serve beans as a side dish, but that's as far as I'll go. It was even better than the chili con carne I remember from my childhood in South Texas- and that memory was a pretty good one. Now if I could only make cheese and green chile enchiladas the way the lunch lady did...and the eggs.

Happy 6th Day :)


Christine said...

Finally! I've been searching the ends of the earth for a true Chili con Carne recipe like the one I get at my favorite divey mexican food place. This looks really close - I won't know for sure until I try it and I can't wait to do so. Thank you Jennifer! :)

Arties32 said...

I even met a mexican guy in the grocery store who gave me a few pointers- and bought a tortilla press to make fresh corn tortillas to have with it (at home). The chili is for our United Way fundraiser at work tomorrow- people get lunch for a donation. Charity Chili Con Carne :)