Fall Chili

So I make chili. I think it’s pretty good chili too. My good friend Bryan, from the great state of Texas thinks it’s the best Chili he’s had (Don’t tell his family). What’s my secret? Think like a cowboy. Think like cooky, from city slickers, or just think like John Wayne. Whoever you decide to conjure up in your head, just make sure they can think on their feet, because that’s the basis we’ll be working from.

I got my Chili making method from my mom and aunt bear I think. It all started from the way I learned to make Curry- using over ripened bananas as a thickener, coffee for that earthy taste, but that’s another recipe.
On with it, already!

 

 

Fall Chili
Ingredients
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly with the grain for caramelization.
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, mashed (roast at 325º for ½ hour, then 200º for an hour, you can do this days ahead and it's easier to de-clove cold)
  • 8 oz. of Fresh Apple Cider (that's what I had left in the jug)
  • 8 oz. of leftover coffee (again- whatever's in the pot)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of dried mixed beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc...)
  • 5 Guajillo Chili's (dried)- slice a small lengthwise cut into them to allow liquid to enter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 ceylon cinnamon stick bound with butcher's twine
  • 3 TB of Penzey's medium Chili spice blend
  • 1 tb of Penzeys BBQ of the Americas or BBQ 3000
  • 2-3 TB of dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 TB of Paprika
  • 1 28oz can of Muir Glen crushed fire roasted tomatoes.
  • 3 lbs of Boneless beef Short ribs (grind half of it with coarse blade- Cut into strips 1"x1", throw it in the freezer for a half hour before grinding, flip once)
  • 2-3 TB of Molasses
  • ¼ bar of a high quality, high cocoa dark dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. I start by caramelizing the onions, but I stop just short of caramelization- so count on about a half hour to 45 mins in a medium hot cast iron or steel clad aluminum 6-8 qt pot. Put the onions in the pot cold and then turn on the heat- you won't need any oil. Turn it down to medium low after a half hour, avoid stirring it for the first 15 mins. Put the onions aside in a bowl.
  2. Pour the cider into the pot to deglaze it and stir all the brown bits to dissolve. Add the chicken stock, Chilis Cinnamon, Chili Spice, BBQ spice, Oregano, and Paprika. Keep the pan on medium high heat. Cover and let simmer for a half hour. remove the Chilis and let them cool. Rinse and check the beans for pebbles (yes I've found pebbled on numerous occasions). Cook covered on medium heat for 40 mins. Add the coffee, molasses and chocolate
  3. Grind half the beef and cook in a hot pan until brown in 2 batches, setting each aside into the bowl of onions. Grill the other half of the beef, seasoned with Salt and Pepper, cook until well browned on the outside. Le the grilled beef rest for 5 minutes. While you're resting the beef, carefully scrape the flesh from the inside of the chilis, avoiding the seeds- toss as many seeds as you can out, we're looking for the flavor of these chilis, not the heat (don't worry, they have very respectable heat already). Dump this flesh into the beans and stock.
  4. Dump the ground beef, onions, beans and stock into a large (8 quart) pot and add the can of tomatoes.
  5. Slice the beef into bite sized cubes and put this into the mix as well.
  6. Cook on medium low heat for 2-3 hours or until beans and cubed beef are tender. You can also finish this in the oven, which will require less stirring, etc...
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Seafood Stew

Best Accidental Recipe of the Week.
What happens to leftovers in my house, may not be what happens to them in your house, but I assure you, that will change.

Mediterranean Influenced Seafood Stew
My Cousin Hope and I came up with this dish last week and it’s a delicious one! The battle between ginger and tomatoes was won by the tomato.

Ready? Read on for more juicy details

You’ll need a large saute pan for this dish, or a wok.

1 lb of pasta, either Gigli, Campanelle, Cappelletti, or Cavatelli.
1 lb of scallops (I prefer the larger dry scallops- they are not pumped with water when frozen, ask your fish monger.)
1 lb of king salmon or steelhead trout (if you’ve never had steelhead and your local fish monger has some on hand, take it)
1 ugly tomato cubed (less seeds and water in these beauties, more meat for the buck)
Sugar Snap Peas (our grocer packs them onto small trays- a little more than a fat handful)
1 shallot, sliced (larger one, otherwise use 2)
1 clove of garlic, mashed (with the side of your chef’s knife, don’t have one? Check out the great selection of Chef’s Knives at Amazon)
a pinch of Saffron (1/4 gram is probably fine)
1 cup of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, or a Spanish or Portuguese white)
1/4 cup of Peanut oil with 1-2 TB of butter added
Pan Searing Flour (this is easily made with salt and white pepper which is only used to keep the color consistant- feel free to use black)
A few slivers of Preserved Lemon diced (use only the peel and rinse before use)

Blanch for 1 minute or steam the sugar snap peas and set aside (they should have some crunch to them)

Prepare water for pasta. Begin the pasta once you have started browning the seafood.

Nuke the white wine with the saffron in it for 1-2 minutes

Slice the fish into stew sized cubes and set aside.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and dredge them in a bowl of pan searing flour (if you don’t have any of this pre-made flour, simply season the scallops with salt and pepper and then dredge in flour)
Dredge the fish in the same dish, adding more flour if needed.

prepare a large pan by preheating over medium-high (every stove is different) for a few minutes and add  the oil and butter. The oil should be almost smoking- if it’s smoking, your too hot, turn it down.

Add the shallots to the oil and saute for 1-3 minutes, (adding the garlic after the first minute) or until they begin to turn color (do not let them brown much)
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Now add the scallops, sauteing them for 3-4 minutes on both side or until brown- (do not crowd the scallops or they will not brown, so do them in batches if you need to, I did mine in 2 batches) Scrape any excess flour crunchies out of the pan (if using steel or cast iron) to keep them from burning (these taste great).

Follow by sauteing the fish in the same oil, which by now will be disappearing- add a little extra oil if needed. Remove from oil when browned on two sides. Turn heat down a bit.

Now add the  white wine and saffron to the pan and simmer the pieces of cured lemon peel for 1 minute, followed by the tomato cubes.
Cook the tomato cubes until the skin begins to curl, then add back the onions, garlic, seafood, and sugar snap peas. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cooked covered for 1 minute to warm ingredients)

Serve immediately over pasta!