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Old 11-26-2006, 01:14 PM   #11
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The first batch is in the oven using the above recipe. Only things I changed were the quantity of garlic (up to three cloves), and holding back half the chile's/herbs. I also cut the amount of ancho to 2-T from 3-T.

Definetly took me a little while to de-seed/toast/process all those chiles! I found that 15 Anchos yield about 2/3-C, and 10 Pasillas yield about 1/3-C using average sized pieces. Have them in separate sealed containers now.
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Old 11-26-2006, 03:00 PM   #12
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Did some experimenting.

The ground coriander seed is a great addition, but personally I think the chocolate and cinnamon clash a bit with the cumin. Adding a little bit of sweetness via raisin paste or honey goes a great way to balancing the flavors. I didn't make the chili "sweet", but compensated for the other spicy/hot/savory components that are there in spades. Honey is easier and smoother, so I prefer it (the flavors are almost equal).

I need to experiment more with the nut pastes/butters. It's really easy to go overboard with them, but just a bit adds a great flavor component. Pecans produced a walnutty dryness factor on the palate, which I didn't go for. Almonds I'm not sure about. Just a bit of roasted/ground peanuts was good, but I need to try it again.

I may cut back on the amount of ancho to equal the pasilla at 1-T each, and increase the amount of chipotles.

I'm also going to try cubed chuck vs coarsely ground chick side by side, and change the meat/liquid ratio to 1lb/1.5-C.

Amber ale is definetly the way to go too!

Didn't really need to thicken the sauce much, but I did enjoy the subtle corn flavor the masa products added. Unfortunately, I did notice a difference in texture with the sauce. A little bit of graininess that I disliked.

So, off to do some clean-up. I may wait until tomorrow for the next batch.
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:19 AM   #13
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Ok, going to give the following a try today...

Lard As Needed
2-lbs Ground Beef
3-oz Finely Minced Onion
4 Large Cloves Garlic - Minced
1-T Toasted/Ground Ancho Chiles
1-T Toasted/Ground Pasilla Chiles
1-T Mexican Oregano
2-t Toasted/Ground Cumin
1/2-t Ground Coriander Seed
4 Chipotle Chiles w/Adobo Sauce
1-C Crushed Tomatoes (Processed through food mill)
3/4-C Beef/Veal Stock
3/4-C Medium Bodied Beer
1/2-t Honey
Black Pepper & Kosher Salt
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:09 PM   #14
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DON'T try that recipe...

The irregular shaped ground beef holds on to way more sauce than cubes of chuck, and I didn't account for it.

Back to the drawing board. I'm going to start with the CIA's recipe and work from there the next batch. Busy the next two days, so maybe Thursday.
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Old 11-30-2006, 05:33 PM   #15
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Ok, I tried three more recipes and came up with the following. It's good (better than my old childhood standby), but I still haven't come up with an absolutely amazing recipe yet. I'm all chilied out though, so I'm moving on to something else. Maybe I'll get a couple books just on the subject of red. Any good recommendations?

Lard As Needed
2lbs Coarsely Ground Beef or Diced Round
4oz Minced Yellow Onion
2oz Minced Anaheim Chiles
4 Large Cloves Garlic - Minced
2-T All Purpose Flour
4 Chipotle Chile's + 1-T Adobo Sauce
1-T Toasted/Ground Ancho Chiles
1-T Toasted/Ground Pasilla Chiles
1-T Mexican Oregano
1-t Toasted/Ground Cumin Seed
1/2-t Ground Coriander Seed
12fl.oz. Beer (A Medium Ale)
12fl.oz. Tomato Puree
12fl.oz. Beef/Veal Stock
2-T White Vinegar
1-t Honey
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

Running short on time here, but brown the beef on high heat and set it aside. Brown the onions, add the anaheims/garlic and cook briefly, add the flour and cook out the rawness, add the chipotles and 3/4 of the dried herbs, add the beer and bring to a simmer for 2-3min, add the tomatoes/stock/reserved beef and return to a simmer, pop in a 300F oven for 1hr, pull it out and degrease, add the remaining chili powder mixture, season with black pepper, and balance the flavors with honey/vinegar/kosher salt. I wanted to add a corn product to thicken, but all the products I used gave the sauce a gritty texture. I felt I had better flavor penetration into the meat with smaller pieces (either burger or small-dice round/chuck). I decided on not including any nut butters, as they added an extra facet, but didn't develop any further depth in flavor (which is what I was looking for). I think the next thing I would try would be to roast the tomatoes/anaheims/onions/garlic first - a few recipes I found claim this to be the secret technique. After 10 pots of chili I'm tuckered out though...

Any further suggestions or book recommendations?

I tried adding various amounts of ancho/pasilla, but found 2-3 tablespooons to be enough along with four chipotles and the anaheims. More than that seemed to give it even more "Chili" flavor (kinda masking the other flavors), but didn't increase the depth any. The smokiness of the chipotles is a key factor for sure in what I like. The vinegar/acid definetly wakes it up as well. Not like ketchup, but a similar effect in bringing out the flavors of the chiles, garlic, and tomatoes.

EDIT: The chipotle's were roughly seeded and minced to a paste.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:45 PM   #16
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Nick, I ALWAYS caramelize my tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I usually add the onions and garlic, along with the seasonings, when the meat is 3/4 done browning. The tomatoes get added shortly thereafter. Once the mixture starts to stick to the pan and caramelize, I'll add my liquid ingredients, usually stock. Stir and scrape to get all that goodness into the mix.

I've used beer a few times, but honestly, I'm not really all that fond of the taste.

I will put a little cocoa powder and cinnamon into my seasonings, but only 1/4 t of each per 2# of meat. I find that any more, and they start to overpower/compete with the remaining seasonings. The amounts I use are not totally detectable, but definitely add to the taste.

I wouldn't go with veal stock, but a good strong beef stock.

I like to use stale corn tortilla chips. I find that they dissolve completely into the broth as it cooks.

You also might want to try some slightly different meats. Skirt steak is cheap, and very flavorful. The long cooking time will also break it down to make it tender. I've been wanting to use some smoked brisket, to add a very strong smokey punch, and it's already very tender.

Editted to add:

You might want to try brown sugar instead of honey for a sweetener. If you want to go authentic, look for a cone of "Piloncilo", a solid cone of brown sugar, usually displayed where the dried chiles are in the produce department.
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:43 PM   #17
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Nick, a few ideas: BBQ some pork butt chunks, cube them up and toss them in the chili. Home smoked pork also is really really good. We really like grilling our meat so that it chars on the outside and gives that smokey flavor to the chili. Smoked lamb makes incredible chili (especially with black beans)!

I have always used lots of onions and peppers - but I hold back half and add them toward the end so there are crispy veggies. Red and green bell peppers, roasted poblanos, jalapenos - and red and white onions. As has been noted, chili is a "casual" meal. Great condiments include lime wedges, crema (or sour cream), chopped cilantro, grated cheese, sliced scallions, and diced tomatoes.

Please consider getting your spices etc. from Penzey's. Their cumin is amazing. They have really great stuff.

I have been known to combine meats - smoked turkey and the BBQ'd pork, chorizo and beef, etc. Hominy is great in chili - but then it's not classic. Chili is such a FUN food. Relax and have great fun with it .
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Old 11-30-2006, 11:05 PM   #18
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Harborwitch - funny you brought up smoking - as I was reading his recipe I thought about smoking the tomatoes in a stovetop smoker - that might be a nice flavor. OH MY - smoked pork butt in chili - yahoo!! What a great idea.
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Old 12-01-2006, 08:02 AM   #19
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Allen - Brown sugar instead of honey sounds great! I'll have to give that a try. I also caramelized the onions and garlic. I don't normally keep beef stock in my freezer, so I used some of my brown veal stock. Doesn't have as much "Beefy" flavor, but has a lot more body from the greater amount of gelatin. I'd probably use beef stock if I had it though. I'm definetly going to try brown sugar next time around, Thanks!
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Harborwitch - Awesome idea on the BBQ! Next time around I'm going to brown strips of chuck/round over my charcoal weber before dicing it up into the pot! Thats sounds excellent! I thought about adding some diced bell pepper too - that's definetly on the list next time around as well. I like my chili with some raw minced red onion on top, so I bet reserving some of the onions for addition later on lends a similar sharpness. I'll check out Penzey's too. Right now I get most of my spices from Whole Foods and a couple mail order catalogs. Whole Foods has pretty good spices. I buy whole cumin seed, toast it in the oven, and grind it in one of my mills. Thats why I only have 1-tsp in the above recipe, as it is very potent!
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Kitchenelf - I've never actually used an indoor smoker before. Any good sources of info? I've seen people use the stainless ones with the top that slides on, and I've seen 'em on TV, but never tried it before. I usually use my weber with coals pushed to one side and wet chips thrown on top. I was thinking of broiling the vegetables in the oven first. For the tomatoes, I wanted liquid though, so I ran a can of crushed tomatoes through my hand-crank food-mill and made a puree to use with the beer and stock.
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Stews/Braises/Sauces are my favorite things to cook, and amazing chili is on my list of "things to achieve" right up there with a perfect Roast Chicken... I can make a good pot of chili, but it's only good. I want something amazing...

Thanks for the help guys! Always looking for more tips/info too.

EDIT: Oh, I tried using Masa Harina, Masarepa, Corn Tortillas pulsed in a chopper, Tortilla Chips pulsed in a chopper, and all of them gave the sauce a slightly gritty/particulate mouthfeel even after a full hour of simmering. The toasted flavor of the chips definetly had the best flavor, but even those failed to fully break down in my pot. So I settled for a couple tablespoons of flour (via Roux) to thicken the sauce along with a bit of reduction. I'm still hung on whats better too, ground or diced beef. I do know that I prefer small dice, as I achieved greater flavor penetration into the meat with more surface area and less thickness. I'm also looking at the list of ingredients and thinking I might have gotten carried away with the number of ingredients. Usually the best things are fairly simple. I'd question the addition of some items, such as both Ancho & Pasilla chiles. Personally I found them to be very similar in taste when you added in the complexity of all the other flavors and aromas. Next time around I'd probably just use one or the other and just double the amount.

I also want to try developing a cooking medium and reducing it by 1/3-1/2 to thicken/concentrate flavors (with a bit of roux), and then straining it into a pot over the diced BBQ'd beef to begin the stew/braise.

Proper balancing at the end with honey (B.Sugar next time), Vinegar, and Salt is key from my experimenting. Lots of earthy flavors that need to be brought forward are lifted up.

Have to go, Have fun!
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:39 AM   #20
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Haha, I can't let it go...

Going to try one more 2lb batch tonight. I picked up some coarsely ground beef this morning along with some bell peppers. Going to sub bell peppers for the anaheim chile (and increase the amount to 4oz to match the onions), use brown sugar instead of honey, and reduce the sauce more to concentrate the flavors before returning the beef and simmering. Then when it's done I'm going to split it up into four portions and do some experimentation with a few vinegars. I may increase the garlic as well.

Going to look at some more recipes before I go at it again.

Have to go Christmas Shopping first...
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