Super Bowl Special: Chili Con Carne

ChiliOK. You and your friends are gathered around the TV riveted on the Super Bowl. Chips and salsa have been passed about, but now it’s half time and the call is for something more stick-to-your ribs satisfying. Chili!

Ingredients

1 T cumin seeds

2 medium (roughly 3 by 5 inches) chiles ancho

2 T pure chile powder

2 t ground Mexican oregano

4 strips applewood smoked bacon

2 ½ lbs. well marbled beef chuck cut into ½ inch cubes

Salt

1 medium white onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 14-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes (preferable D.O.P.)**

1 T freshly squeezed lime juice

1 t sugar

1 t masa harina

1 14-oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

1. Toast cumin seeds in a small cast iron skillet until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool. Pulverize in a small grinder (such as a coffee grinder used only for spices).*

2. In the same skillet, toast chiles ancho until crisp. Turn over but be careful not to burn. Tear into pieces. discarding stem and seeds, and place in a bowl. Cover with 2 ½ cups hot water. Set aside.

3. Mix chile powder and oregano together. Add enough water to form a light paste. Set aside.

4. Cook bacon in a large skillet on medium high until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat in a separate container and set aside. When bacon cools, crumble it into small pieces and set aside.

5. Increase heat to medium high and add one tablespoon bacon fat back into pan. Work in batches to brown the beef. Don’t crowd or you will steam the beef. Brown on all sides and lightly salt as you cook. Remove from pan and set aside.

6. Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to pan. Add chopped onions and sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chile and oregano paste and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Put onions and garlic, beef, bacon and tomatoes (breaking them up with your fingers) into a 6-quart Dutch oven.

8. Pulse ancho chile water in a food processor a few times. (There will still be pieces of chile in the liquid.) Strain into pot and add lime juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 ½ hours. Then uncover and maintain a bare simmer for another half hour.

9. Mix the masa harina in a small amount of water to make a slurry. Stir into the chili to thicken it. Mix in the kidney beans. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with any or all of the following garnishes on the side:

grated sharp cheddar

chopped red onion

sour cream

sliced scallions

diced fresh tomatoes

chopped fresh cilantro

*Ground cumin comes in a spice bottle, of course, but if you toast and grind your own, you will be transported to spice heaven by the aroma and fresh taste.

**D.O.P. refers to tomatoes that have been processed in the same place they were grown.

Photographer Bill Brady

Stir-Fried Beef with Oyster Sauce

Quick and delicious, stir-fried beef with oyster sauce provides a great introduction to Chinese cooking.  This one “from column A” can be prepared in less than half an hour including rice.  If you don’t have a wok, make it in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet.  Don’t make it in a non-stick skillet as you can’t get it hot enough.

By the way, stir-frying is a misnomer as there is no stirring in stir-frying.  The technique is to lift the ingredients with your spatula and turn them over.  As you continue from different angles, all the food gets seared from contact with the hottest part of the wok.  Make the rice first.

 

Ingredients

¾ lb. steak (flank or boneless strip)

1 T soy sauce (preferably tamari)

2 sweet peppers

1 large onion

1 t  cornstarch

2 T oyster sauce

pinch of salt

Peanut oil as needed

Directions

1. Slice steak against the grain into bite-size strips. Place in a bowl and mix with soy sauce.  Set aside.

2. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers and julienne into bite-size strips.

3. Cut onion into thin slices

4. Make a slurry of cornstarch and water.  Mix in oyster sauce.

5. Heat wok to very hot but not smoking.  Add 1 T oil. Stir fry pepper strips until tender and slightly seared. Add a wee pinch of salt to peppers and onions as thy cook.) Dish into serving bowl.

6. Add 1 T oil into hot wok.  Stir fry onions until lightly browned.  Add to serving bowl.

7. Again, add 1 T oil to hot wok.  Stir fry steak until cooked through.

8. Return peppers and onions to wok.  Stir fry with meat for 15 seconds.

9. Make a “well” in center of hot wok and add slurry.  Stir fry until ingredients are coated.

10. Serve alongside a bowl of steaming hot rice.

Chinese rice (makes 3 cups cooked rice)

Ingredients

1 cup long grain white rice

1 ¾ cup cold water

Directions

1. Rinse rice in several changes of cold water until it runs clear.

2. Place water and rice in a 2-quart pan with a tight-fitting cover. (I add a pinch of salt but this is not traditional.)

3. Bring to a boil without cover.  Turn heat to low and cook with cover at a bare simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Let rest until the rest of your meal is ready to serve.  Fluff rice with fork and serve hot. (Resist the temptation to peek at the rice before it is ready to serve.)

Photos by Michael Kirigin

Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun. You can roast peppers on the grill or on a stove top directly on the flame. Once blackened put them in a paper bag to cool. The black char slides right off and you have roasted peppers. Cut them opened and remove the seeds. You can put them in olive oil with chopped garlic and you have a great appetizer.

Another quick preparation for peppers is to stuff them with chopped meat, cheese and rice and baked in the oven covered with tomato sauce. Use the big red peppers, the green ones often are bitter when cooked in this fashion.

Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this backyard barbecue and party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will be back for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

  • Tes // June 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Reply

    Those chilis photo looks beautiful. I love the recipe. I think jelapeno and becon is a good combination. I can’t wait to try it on my party.

Jessica // June 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Reply

Wow, I really love the way these look and the flavor combination is spot-on. What a beautiful and simple dish to serve during the summer!

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